May 31, 2010

Pay Day

Filed under: Life's Like That — Chantelle @ 9:26 am

Today is pay day at work. This is very significant, because it is the first pay day I will have recieved since I have began working full-time for the summer – the first cheque I have recieved since the very insignificant last paycheck I got from my part-time “school” job as a janitor.

See, the cost of living is rising. Granted, it is nothing like what you would find in Vancouver or even possibly Calgary, but the fact remains the same. Now, before you assume that I am just one of those people who has a large nest egg to sit on and unlimited resources, let me tell you a story.

In high school, I was always a very busy person. I was President of SADD, Co-editor of the newspaper, I was on the yearbook committee, the curling team, the basketball team, and occasionally the track team. This is not to say that I was a particularily athletic person – in fact, I’m pretty awful. I just enjoyed the challenge and the camaraderie.

In grade 10, I took my first ‘real’ job. I had been working for my dad on the farm for a couple years prior, but didn’t feel that it was applicable. Anyway, I had gotten all my training, and began work as a lifeguard. It just so happened that the pool was short-staffed the year that I started. As such, I began working thirty hour weeks from the get-go… on top of school, my sports, and my other extra-curriculars. As soon as I began working, I began to forge my independence. I bought my own groceries for days I worked through meals, and I began to save for school. It was a small start, but something.

When it came time to start school, this desire for independence had only grown. I knew that I would need my parents’ help to an extent, but was determined to take as little as I could from them. I also decided that I was not going to be one of those students that gets a student loan and then has to spend the next 50 years paying for school.

So I got a job at the university, and began to work. Now, for those of you who have taken full-time university classes, you know that there isn’t a lot of extra time to fit work into your schedule. I was lucky in that by taking commerce classes I didn’t have labs to suck up full afternoons at a time, but I was still taking 5, sometimes 6 classes at once. Thank-fully, I already had plenty of experience with over-extending myself from high school. To this day I think that my over-eagerness to do everything, and do everything well in high school is what helped me keep my sanity in university.

Since I moved to the city in September of ’06, I have not been able to count on a steady income. Sometimes I would have to take a day off of work to finish a project that was due. Sometimes I would pick up extra shifts, if I could. I have been living in cycles – working part-time one job during the school year, finding another job to work full-time in the summer. I am ready to be done.

So when I realized this spring that I had only four classes left to take to finish my degree, I pounced. I am now taking summer classes – one night class two nights/week, and one online. I hope to take two night classes in the fall to finish my degree in December. I am currently working a full-time summer position, and looking for a full-time permanent position to start in the fall.

I am definitely looking forward to having a “real” income, rather than having everything I make syphen directly into bills and tuition!

To all those who want to go through school without loans — it’s a hard road. More than once I wanted to just get a loan so I wouldn’t worry about living paycheck to paycheck. Once I took a job with a local fast-food chain just to make that month’s rent, and then quit because I knew I didn’t actually have time to work two jobs. But, if you are determined enough it is possible to do. Don’t give up.


May 30, 2010


Filed under: Kudos — Chantelle @ 4:34 pm

Congratulations to my gorgeous sister who graduated from high school yesterday.

Kelsey and I at her Graduation

Kelsey and I

And congratulations to my [future] sister in-law on her beautiful baby boy, Matthew Rene.

Baby Matthew

Little Matthew

May 28, 2010


Filed under: Life's Like That — Chantelle @ 3:38 pm

I can’t believe my little sister graduates from high school tomorrow.

It feels like yesterday that I was standing in line, waiting to go up on that stage. The hat didn’t quite fit right, and my legs were itchy, but darn it, I was going to be a lady.

My sister is four years younger than me. She will be going into Education in the fall, and has already been accepted into both university and residence. It was no question that she would get in – she has amazing grades, and is amazing with kids, and has the proof to back up that she is amazing with kids. She has been both teaching swimming lessons and volunteering at the elementary school for a couple of years now.

I am so proud of her.

So, to prove that I am proud of her, I am going to tease her. (That’s what big sisters are for, right?)

I bought her a great little bar fridge for her dorm room, as a grad gift. It is stainless steel, and has both a freezer and a crisper in it. Regular $200, on sale for $150, and GE to boot. I couldn’t say no.

She doesn’t know that. For all she knows, I have completely forgotten to buy her a gift. So, that is what I am going to let her think. I am going to waltz in on Saturday with no gift in tow, and see if she says anything. (She is the type who would if she notices). Then on Sunday, when she opens all of her gift, I will wait and watch, all smiles, while she opens all the presents. Then when she gets to the bottom of the pile, and notices that there is no present from me, I will first feign ignorance (I was supposed to buy you something too?) and then waltz her out the the car.

Oooh being evil is so much fun. I can’t wait!

May 27, 2010

Murphy’s Law

Filed under: Life's Like That — Chantelle @ 12:28 pm

There is something to be said about Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

To begin this story, I will need to rewind to Thursday morning.

The morning started off well enough. I arrived to work on time, unscathed despite the traffic that does not belong in Saskatchewan. (Far busier than it should be!) I got my coffee, as well as one for the receptionist at work. It had become a daily routine, one that I quite enjoyed. The smile is worth it.

It was a fun morning. I was working on putting together packages for children at a local school that the company I work for sponsors. I was having a lot of fun with it, making planes etc., and generally being silly. Then things started to get busy.

At about 11 that morning, my supervisor’s supervisor informed me that the company I work for would be holding a press conference the following morning, and that as my supervisor was out of town, I would be responsible for … [insert list]. It was fine, it really was. Sure, everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to get ready for this press conference but not telling anyone else anything. But that is a typical office behind the scenes, no?

Anyway, that wasn’t bad. Except, at 11:30, my dad texted me to tell me that my Pepere (grandpa), who had been in the hospital for the past 20 days, had gotten worse. They didn’t know whether he would make it until the following day.

However, because I was busy running around like a chicken with its head cut off (very stylishly too I might add), I didn’t recieve the text until about 12:15 – I hadn’t looked at my phone since 11.

As soon as I recieved the text, I messaged my dad back to ask how bad it was, and to ask whether I would be okay coming home the following day, as originally planned still. See, this press conference was happening tomorrow morning, and I needed to be here. It would be an amazing learning experience.

Well, I got a learning experience. My brother texted me shortly after saying that Pepere was going downhill fast, and that I had better get home. That broke me down. I read his message, and then read it again. Then I hurried to the bathroom, because there were tears streaming down my face that I didn’t want my co-workers to see.

I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t leave… could I? Would it wreck my relationships with my co-workers and my job?

One of my co-workers heard me in the bathroom, and asked if I was okay when I came out. That broke my delicate self-control. My co-worker, bless her, told me that she would take over anything I had left that needed to be done that day and the following (the rest of the week), and that I needed to be with my family. Wise words.

By the time I had relayed all my information to her and notified the appropriate people, it was 12:50. I raced home, crying the whole way, and threw a bunch of clothes in a bag. I really took no notice to what I put in there – I didn’t know what I would need. I remembered my socks, my underwear. I brought my toothbrush. I also packed a lot of black clothes. I wasn’t in the right mindset to pick out an outfit in case there would be a funeral, but I knew that I would probably need to be once I got home. I didn’t know what jewellery I would want, so I packed the entire jewellery box. I didn’t remember a jacket – I grabbed a sweater only on my way out the door as an afterthought.

I needed to stop for gas on my way out of the city – my car had only half a tank, and it would be a windy drive. I managed to smile for the gas attendant, and pretend I was just going on a business trip. I was still dressed in my work clothes, so that much was quite easy.

At about 2:30, it started raining quite hard. I pulled my car over to the side of the road because I couldn’t see anything. It then started hailing, noisy, pea-sized hail. I sighed, and waited to sit it out. It was then that I got the call. Pepere had died. My dad made the call to me. I don’t know why I answered the way I did. When I saw his number I answered the phone cheerfully, not thinking about why he might be calling. He told me that Pepere had died. I said okay, like it was just another business call. I told him it was raining and hailing and I could hardly hear him. He asked me if he should phone my sister at school. I said that yes, he should. He sighed, and said that he had better go then. I said okay. That was all.

Granted, I was upset. It was like my body was a shell that was reacting of its own volition rather than portraying my actual thoughts. I spent the rest of the drive home crying and screaming.

When I got to town, I went straight to the hospital. I saw one boy I knew on the way there, one who had been in my brothers class. He was just sitting there on the corner, watching me. I looked at him, but didn’t smile, didn’t wave. I just kept going. When I got to the hospital, the hearse followed me into the parking lot. I was panicked by that. They couldn’t take him away before I got to him.

Most people had left the hospital room when I got there. My family was still in there though, waiting for me to get there. I am not going to go into any details about my visit with Pepere’s body, except that he didn’t look like himself. It was tough.

We went to Memere’s (Grandma’s) house, where we met up with the rest of the (extended) family. I learned soon after, that I was an honourary aunt. My boyfriend’s sister had had a little baby boy, shortly after Pepere died. His name is Matthew. Such a cutie.

Yet, there was problems with the birth. When they gave her the epidural, it required 3 needles because the guy ‘screwed up’. As a result, after giving birth she was in a lot of pain, and could not even move her head. She could not hold her own baby or nurse. Post-partum set in, as a result of feeling like a bad mother.

She went home with the baby, hoping for the best. A day later, she was still in a lot of pain, and the baby was peeing blood, so they both returned to the hospital. The doctor gave her a blood patch which eventually eased most of the pain, and informed her that the baby’s pee being tinted red was normal for a newborn, as they swallow a lot of blood during birth and it needs to work its way out of the system.

Okay, so that’s good.

So on Monday, I decide that I am going to watch the hockey game first. Seeing my team make it to the final round of the playoffs would really cheer me up. Nah. They lose.

Then, on the way back to the city from my hometown, I hit a deer. Seriously. A deer.


Murphy’s Law, I’m telling you.

The good things that came out of this: I have a healthy little nephew, and I will now not have to repaint my bumper as I will be getting a whole new one…

May 20, 2010

Gender Identity

Filed under: Gender — Chantelle @ 3:22 pm

I guess I should start by telling you that I am a fourth-year university student, finishing up my Marketing degree. It is all quite innoquous really, I have four classes left so I am hoping to finish up by taking night/online classes so that I can continue to work full-time into the fall. As a result, I am taking two classes this summer, one online and one night class.

My decision about what night class to take was a very practical one. For my degree, I need four classes. One of these is Comm 401, a management class I believe. When I decided to take summer classes, this class had already reached full capacity and so was out of the question. The other classes I need are three senior electives. (Senior electives mean and second-year or higher class of your choice, not necessarily in your degree.) My requirements were quite strict for summer classes. I needed that class to be held in the evening, I needed the class to be a senior-level, and I needed all of the requirements to join the class.

When it came down to it, I really had no choice about which class I would take. I ended up joining two Womens & Gender Studies classes, 201 (in-class) which studies Gender in Popular Culture, and 210 (web) which studies… well, I’m not sure yet.

I joined the classes not expecting much. The web class has reached my expectations, but 201 has really changed my perspectives about gender, and we have only reached the third class!

Last night, we had a young gentlemen come to speak to us. He calls himself Eric, and was once female. Normally, this would have appalled me. He went from being a tomboy named Kara, to completely transforming himself, and taking testosterone and having surgery to become truly, male. While he isn’t there yet, I certainly wouldn’t have known the difference had he not said something – in fact, he looks much like one of the boys that was in my class in high school.

The point that I am trying to make with this post is that, upon hearing Eric’s story, my mind was really changed about what it means to be male, or what it means to be female. What right do we really have to state, upon seeing the sex organ of a child at birth, that they must act and behave in accordance to society’s principles of ‘male’ and ‘female’? 

Why does it matter if one is a boy or a girl? Are we really so shallow that we need to know the sex of another person to define them in some way? Does it matter if you think someone is the opposite sex that they are, and become attracted to them? If the colour of one’s skin doesn’t matter, and a person’s weight doesn’t matter, and the length of one’s hair doesn’t matter, why does the type of genetalia they have matter? Granted, health professionals may need to know one’s biological make-up in order to treat them for illness or otherwise. Fine. But don’t limit that to M/F. What about the people who were once one and are now the other? What do they check off?

Okay. So someday in the future you want to have kids. Many of us do. Therefore, you want to choose a partner that has ovaries, obviously. Right? But just because someone is born with ovaries doesn’t mean they can, or even want to become pregnant.

I once looked at those who are transgendered, cross-dressers, gender-queer, etc. as being freaks. I will freely admit that, because it helps show you where I am coming from. But hearing Eric’s story… I will never, ever jump to assumptions or judge these people in the way I used to. They are human. People. Friends.

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