Saturday, December 26, 2009

all I got for christmas is a full time job

My first week of work is in the can. It's been a real jolt to the system, getting up and having to be functional so early. I can't complain, all my adult life I've been an early bird, but after so many years of practically no activity, getting up off my ass and moving again has been a shock.

I have so many stories that I wish I could share with you but can't. I'm still on a learning curve made even more precipitous by the fact that my boss is currently on vacation and will be leaving the company shortly after her return. Thankfully, she doesn't seem to be the kind of person that leaves a mess in her wake. I like her a lot and I'm disappointed that she's leaving, but them's the breaks. My feelings about my colleagues are... mixed, so I'll let that alone for now.

I did manage to get my contract signed by the skin of my teeth, however. I started on a Saturday so I was supposed to have my contract in hand on Monday. Then they needed to verify some information so that set them back a day, and then they finally sent it Wednesday morning, the "end" of my work week and the day my boss went on vacation. Sheesh. So I'm officially signed up for three month's work with the option of a CDI (a contract of indeterminate time, aka a never ending contract, the "golden ticket" in France) at the end.

Of course, I landed this job at both the best possible time and the worst possible time, depending on how you look at it. It's perfect because I started the job exactly on the day that Stéphane's Christmas break started, otherwise we would have been up the proverbial creek with Fry. Since there is no daycare in Tiny Town and we only have one car, we've decided to place Fry with an assistante maternelle in Tiny Town (I mentioned this in a previous post, yes?). There are approximately 20 available in Tiny Town, and two days before Christmas we managed to find two that have openings. We'll visit them Monday and make a decision. Fry will go four days a week full time during the school year.

Speaking of Fry, what a change this has been for him, too! With very few exceptions, we've been together every single day of his life. With me not coming home until after he's had his lunch and gone down for a nap, I think he was starting to get upset with me, to the point that by Tuesday he was practically ignoring me. Finally having two days off, I'm hoping he understands that it's not like he'll never see me again. I'm hoping we'll find him a nounou that has other kids his age, because it would be so good for him to have some little buddies to play with (and learn how to share with!).

As for the worst timing, I hate that our Christmas suffered a little, though it could have been so much worse - I was fully expecting to be scheduled for Christmas, but it was just dumb luck that I ended up with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. I only got half of the gifts finished and we ended up grabbing some last minute gift certificates, but we had a great evening with family on Thursday and I had a well earned veg out day yesterday.

The next two weeks are going to be exhausting, since we're already on a skeleton crew even when the boss is there, so not a lot of rest coming my way for a while. But man, I have to say, there's nothing more satisfying than being tired from a good day's work. I have to admit, I've missed that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

vivi gets a job

ha HA!

What can I tell you, I'm gainfully employed now! I can't tell you much else, though. Here's what I'm willing to share:

-It's in the service industry. The hours are not ideal and I'll be working weekends a lot but I don't have to wear a uniform, so that's a plus.

-I mentioned that I preferred mornings to evenings in my interview and all this week I'm scheduled for morning hours. Getting up three hours before the butt crack of dawn this morning was hard, but being home and done with work for the day at 1pm was quite nice. Don't know if it will always be like that, however.

-The work is not difficult, the time flew by this morning, looks like I'll be speaking English a lot.

-The schedule will vary every week, but it is generally planned out a month in advance, except for the next two weeks (and especially with new personnel).

-By some freak of nature and scheduling, I actually have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. I'll most certainly have to work New Year's Eve but as long as I can be with Fry Christmas morning I seriously don't care. I think last year Stéphane and I were already in bed by midnight last year anyway (though Fry was only 8 weeks old at the time, can you blame us?). In any case I'll be home by midnight, which is the most important part anyway.

Speaking of Fry, we're obviously going to have to come up with some day care solutions. Since there isn't a real day care in Tiny Town, and we only have one car (so Stéphane can't take/drop off Fry outside of Tiny Town), our next solution is an assistante maternelle, or a nanny. The town hall keeps a list of nannies and it will be up to us to call and find one that is willing to take him. So Stéphane will be doing that first thing Monday.

So, that's me working. How about that?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Wonderland

It started snowing yesterday morning and it's hardly stopped. The roads were a mess yesterday getting to my job interview, but the Director was very impressed that I showed up anyway (and said so at least three times), so major points there. Since they hadn't salted/sanded the roads before I got there, the roads were a bit perilous in town but much better by the time I left.

Last night we had dinner out with some of Stéphane's colleagues at Tiny Town's Moroccan restaurant (our favorite by a long shot, amazing food and outstanding service!). We were the lucky ones this time as we were literally around the corner from our house (though we still had to drive in order to bring Fry's high chair) as most of the teachers away from Tiny Town. By then it had already been decided that the school buses would not run today. Considering our school is the central school for all the little villages surrounding Tiny Town and many buses have to take service field roads to get here, I think they made the right decision. Still, that doesn't mean school is canceled, and anyone that can get to school is still required to come. No big deal, since today is the last day before Christmas holidays.

Here's what we woke up to:

Snow in Tiny Town

Snow in Tiny Town

Hey, the apartment across the street is available again!

And it's still coming down. It's gorgeous, and I'm hoping to manage to take Fry out in it at some point. The only problem is he doesn't have any snow pants or boots. I didn't bother to buy any because it hasn't snowed like this since 2005. We'll figure something out! In any case, it isn't going to last, as Tuesday we're expecting highs of around 10C (50F).

As for the job, I'll find out this evening if I got it, and if I did, it starts tomorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

vivi gets a break

I hit a pretty low point yesterday morning. I finally just cried out to the universe, "I need a break!"

Luckily, the universe was listening.

I finally got a call about a job. I have an interview this afternoon. And even if I don't get the job, finally getting a call after job searching for so long makes me feel so much better. Like I actually am employable.

I don't know if it's me personally, or the culture I come from, but most of my anxiety over looking for a job has stemmed from the feeling that if I'm not getting calls for interviews, then there's something wrong with me. I have experience! I have a diploma! I'm bilingual! Why don't you like me???

Stéphane finally talked me down. It's not you, he said. There are no jobs. Of course employers can be super picky when they have dozens of replies for every job offer. Stop taking it personally, he said.

And he's right. Plus, I've been here before. During a similar job hunt before moving back to the Carolinas, I answered an ad for a secretary in Florida in 1996. There were so many applicants for that job, they were taking us in groups of ten to fill out applications and tests. But it was a hell of a lot easier to go get a job at Bennigan's at 23 than it would be now (even if we had a road filled with twenty chain restaurants in these parts).

Even if I don't get this job, getting an interview gave me all the confidence I need to keep looking. But that doesn't mean I don't want to nail this interview!

The only problem now is that it's snowing like a mother out there. The universe still likes a good giggle now and then.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I have no idea what to say

So here's a tweet cloud:


(Still knitting for Christmas, job hunting, on snow watch. I do have a post in me, will write ASAP!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

it's the most horrible time of the year

Man, things are getting me down! The weather has settled into its gray steel phase which will last until Spring (although we're having some very rare sunshine this morning, thankfully) which doesn't help. Fry and I keep exchanging colds. December means the end of term for Stéphane, so he's stressed and tired and working extra hours to get grading finished and seeing parents nearly every night so he's worn out by the time he gets home. I've been sending off resumes at a rate of about one a day, which wouldn't be so bad if I ever got any calls on them, but now it seems available jobs are tapering off and probably will continue to do so until the new year.

I finally managed to decorate for Christmas a little. Fry's stocking is up, so are some of my mom's handmade decorations, and I bought a small plastic tree because the downstairs is already dangerous enough for Fry, especially now that he's walking, we decided a real tree just isn't worth it this year. It's going to be another crafty Christmas for my in-laws but that's going slowly and it seems I can't get anything done.

I can't remember the last time I slept through the night. There are things swirling in the background that I don't write about here that are getting me down as well. I have some health stuff going on that will probably require medication, which does not make me happy at all.

Bah, humbug.

Friday, December 04, 2009

in which Fry gets a shot

Yesterday I took Fry to Tiny Town's salle des fêtes to be vaccinated against H1N1, aka la Grippe A or the swine flu. In France, the vaccinations are being given in "vaccination centers" around the country and are being staffed (and by some accounts, understaffed) by local doctors, nurses and army medical personnel. While anyone has the right to be vaccinated, those that meet certain requirements have been sent a voucher to ensure they will be vaccinated in priority. Someone I know on an forum in Switzerland had her daughter vaccinated yesterday as well, but she said that it was with typical Swiss precision that she had an appointment and even a parking voucher ahead of time, so it took no time at all. My experience, even out here in the French boonies, was... not the same.

Our vaccination center was open from 12pm until 4pm, so we got there around 2:30, hoping to beat the crowds of kids on their lunch break. There were probably a good twenty people ahead of me, but we didn't wait long; five minutes after arriving, we were approached by a volunteer and asked to move to the front of the line (children under two are considered a priority). I have to admit I felt a little guilty, but not guilty enough to say no! On checking in, I was told that I could have one as well, but I declined (Stéphane and I had already decided to skip the vaccination). The next station was for filling out paperwork (name, address, parental consent, general medical questions, etc.). After that, we sat down with a doctor, which just happened to be Dr H, our regular doctor. Dr H marked Fry for a half dose (typical for babies under 18 months) and he'll have the other half in three weeks. Then we waited for a vaccination bay to open up (I think there were three families ahead of us).

Fry was great with his shot as always, just a quick ten second cry and it was over (irrationally proud, me??). I was a bit annoyed that we had to wait twenty minutes before we could leave, as we certainly don't have to wait in the doctor's office after a regular vaccination and I felt like this was a total CYA move, but whatever, we only had to wait ten and it was over. All in all, it took us an hour from sitting down at the entry to walking out the door. Thank goodness we were able to skip the line! Fry didn't have any reaction to the shot at all, didn't even have a small fever. Now whether or not it's actually is worth all the trouble will remain to be seen!