Sunday, 24 November 2013

Project Jason: The Pain

Project Jason was about working out and no longer looking like a twig. In my last post I've discussed how I got a personal trainer named Eli because I noticed that I wasn't getting that much out of my workouts anymore. Or rather, I wasn't satisfied with the rate of progress.

Things were going good with Eli, I was satisfied with the intensity of the workouts. Back when I was working late overtime shifts I was still able to pop in late at night and get in a session before going home and Eli didn't mind, he was flexible. And since being laid off I've been trying to go every day. Might as well do something instead of sleep in all the time.

And then suddenly I get a text saying that he quit. Sound familiar?

This is an unpleasant trend.

BUT WAIT. He wasn't quitting being a personal trainer, he quit being a trainer at that gym. He was fed up with management there so he decided to become independent. I liked him as a trainer so eventually we met up and discussed how to continue our sessions. I'm actually paying half as much to just have him (as opposed to before) so I'm saving money. Plus, because we aren't at that gym anymore, we can go longer, be more flexible with times, etc. etc..

Everyone wins.

Well, I'm not entirely in the clear yet. Unfortunately, I purchased a set number of trainer sessions at the old gym. I now need to find a way to sell them off or be sneaky and exploit some loophole and talk my way out of them. Preferably the latter, put my Psychology degree to use right?

Wouldn't be the first time I've talked my way out of something.

Eli is also recommending protein drinks, specific foods to eat, and vitamins to take. And you know what, it can't hurt, especially if it'll supposedly make me bulk faster. The protein shake is a bit gross to be honest, or maybe this vanilla flavouring is just bad. I've been mixing hot chocolate in it to make it more palatable, shhh....

Actually I've noticed more visible progress in myself and I'm not the only one. My fast food job is the only place where I'm forced to wear a short-sleeved shirt and my coworkers claim my arms are larger. Well, my forearms are a bit, but not by that much.

Still, it's nice to see someone taking notice.

With that being said, the workouts have been hurting. One thing that Eli suggested to do to help the soreness is taking a bath in Epsom salts. I haven't taken a bath in years, and the tub in my bathroom is tiny, but I decided to give it a try after a particularly rough back workout session.

Feels good man. Even if it means half my body is sticking out of the water at any given time.

I still hate leg day though. Friday for whatever reason has been dedicated to leg day. And let me repeat, I hate leg day. I am still hobbling around from last Friday and it hurts to bend over to pick something up. If this is what it feels like to be old, I am not looking forward to it.

And my butt hurts. From working out. This is uncomfortable. It hurts to sit.

But hey, might as well do something with all this excessive spare time. Work-out, come home exhausted, and then fall asleep in front of my computer with a half drunk protein shake in my hand.

Is this how other people deal with unemployment? It's not bad.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Preparing for the Future

It's been about a week since I got laid off from my job. My last paycheque has come in, essentially being the last reminder that I ever worked as a dispatcher. But I'm not one to idle if I can help it. And after a few well deserved days of sleeping in, immediately I started job hunting again.

What I found was not promising.

Going to need a few drinks for this.

Many of the jobs I found I immediately didn't qualify for, requiring experience that I simply did not have and/or not enough of. What remained were often jobs requiring physical labour. There is one thing I will not do (out of preference and physical capability) and that's physical labour. No heavy lifting, no working outdoors, nothing that will get me dirty.

So what did we have left? A lot of temporary work, a few weeks, maybe a month or two at a time. And worst of all, they paid considerably poorly. Maybe a slight bump above minimum wage. My friends tell me that it's generally not a good time to job hunt now, something about budgets not being rewritten until Spring.

And after much mulling, I decided to head back to school in January.

I wish.

Yep. Back to school. I realize that as it is, just having a degree in Psychology isn't enough. I need a way to supplement it, and what better way to do that but by going back to school? I had a similar conversation back in this post. I could go get a Master's in Psychology, but again, situation at my University, not looking so great. And that left me with one remaining viable option.

A second degree in Business.

It makes the most sense with my previous degree in Psychology. If I get a Bachelors of Commerce (or BCOM for short) this opens up things such as Marketing or Human Resources. This would be a two year program with the option for a co-op program or internship thing.

And so I jump to register for the  courses that I still need before I qualify for the BCOM, Economics 101, 102, and a course of my choice so that I qualify for a full-courseload. Econ 102 I get through with no problem, it's the other two that have issues.

For starters, I am completely unable to sign up for Econ 101. Apparently it's reserved for a group of students who have English as a second language. I'm going to have to have a talk an academic adviser or something, because I am literally 2 courses away from applying for a BCOM.

Also, because I'm extremely fluent in English (at least, I'd like to think so) I'd have a massive advantage over my classmates.

As for the course of my choice, I was hoping to take something in Psychology. Though I shouldn't have been surprised when I discovered that there weren't that many Psych courses left. And those remaining I had already taken.

Damn those budget cuts.

So now I'm left floundering, wondering what to take for the remaining course. I want something easy because I'm lazy but something that will still be relatively interesting. Feel free to suggest something in the comments below.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Return of the CPAP Machine

I am not a healthy individual. For anyone who isn't aware, since the inception of my blog I have discussed my numerous health problems like my lung cysts and sleep apnea, and those posts are from 2011. And while my lungs haven't really bothered me (much) since my fatigue has always been an issue.

I've just kind of powered through it. I had a mouth guard for a while because we thought my sleep apnea was caused by my jaw crushing my throat. But eventually I stopped using it because it was causing jaw soreness and alignment issues as well as hearing problems.

And then I started gasping awake at night.

Well this is unsettling.

It was odd. Waking up up to 3 times a night. It was then I realized that my sleep apnea was getting worse. Much worse. We had suspicions that I was unconsciously waking up at night (which explains why I was always so tired) but now I was aware of it.

Powering through wasn't working. I booked an appointment with a sleep specialist and took another kit home to see how badly I was sleeping at night.

And it was pretty bad.

In 5 hours of sleep I had apparently woke up a total of 44 times.

Now this is horrifying.

Alright, time to get back onto the CPAP machine. For those unaware, it's a little device that hooks into a tube, and the tube is connected to a mask, and the mask connects to your face. The machine pumps moist air into your face and that helps you sleep better.

If your jaw is crushing your throat, the increased air pressure will force things open. If your brain is stupid and forgets to breath, then hopefully this will stimulate breathing.

But that's assuming you can breathe to begin with. Immediately with the CPAP, I was having trouble adjusting to the mask. I was only able to wear it for an hour at a time before tearing it off my face because I was suffocating.

It took 3 weeks before we finally found a mask that worked for me. Up until now, the data collected was kind of skewed, what with 1 hour of sleep recorded. NOW we had 3 to 5 hours of sleep recorded at a time.


And guess what we found?

My brain is stupid.

They think that in addition to the possibility that my jaw is crushing my throat, my brain ALSO forgets to breathe. For up to half a minute at a time I stop breathing at night. This would explain why I would start gasping awake in the middle of the night. Lack of oxygen will do that to you.

Scumbag brain.


But we're slowing fixing things I think. The rate of my "not-breathing" has dropped to an average of only 5 times an hour.

For now.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Probation Results

I started my job working as a dispatcher back in August, though it really does feel like I've been here forever. I've gotten used to all my coworkers and I like all of them. All of them have their own little quirks and they're pleasant to be around. I've also started to get to know some of our drivers better and for the most part I like most of them.

Note that I said most. Some are really whiny, rude, or just outright annoying.

Like the guy who asked for directions, didn't follow said directions, and then complains when lost.

But this entire time I've been on probation. In these three months I've been evaluated to see if I would be worth keeping for the long term. This would mean a raise, health benefits, bonuses, statuary holiday pay, etc. etc.. I mean, I thought I was being paid pretty well as it was, so an additional bump up from this is certainly appreciated.

And then last week, my boss pulled me over into a boardroom, we sat down and then he told me he had to let me go.

Well this is certainly a downer.

Apparently I hadn't been improving as much as they would have liked over the last month or so. My boss wasn't able to provide me with any one specific event or thing. I mean, yes I made mistakes, but I tried my best to rectify them and not repeat them in the future. Really not sure what to make of this.

A little voice in my head says that they wanted a guy to for the busy fall season and get rid of him during the dead winter season. This would coincide with my boss's claims that the timing wasn't right for me. Though, that wouldn't make much sense. Train a guy only to do a few month's work.

With that being said, they're not firing me per se. If any position opens up in the Spring for the company, they'd like me to reapply and try again. Try another 3 months probation and see where that goes. And honestly, I probably will try again if nothing else pops up from now and spring.

Because I have started job hunting again.

I know some of you may be wondering why I'd be so willing to head back to a company that just booted me out. Well, for starters, the pay was great. For a guy who just popped out fresh from University, this was phenomenal especially consider that this was just probation pay. The other jobs I've looked at so far provide much less for far more work and stress.

But my coworkers were also great. If there was an issue, they'd pull me aside and show me how to properly do something. No one was passive aggressive, rude, or stupid. And all of them were genuinely surprised that I didn't make the probation. I made an effort to say goodbye to as many as I could before I left the office. I'm going to miss them, they were good people.

I'm also considering maybe heading back to University just for a single term. Maybe get working on a second degree. I'd rather not though, because my debt is still in the thousands. No need to increase it any further.

Which brings me to my next point. If there's anything being jobless has done to me, it's give me A LOT of free time. I guess I can start reliably blogging again as well as working on certain projects. Though, being jobless means I have to carefully budget my money again. Which sucks.

Also probably a good thing that I didn't quit my fast food job. I'll probably try and snatch as many shifts there as I can until I can get something full-time again or head back to classes.

I'm really disappointed though. I fully expected to get through my probation period with no problems.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Projects Update

Current debt: $6000

Almost under $5000 now! Just one more paycheque and I'll be good to go. I always need to reserve a chunk of my pay for myself to pay off things such as my trainer, buying miscellaneous gifts, and just being self-indulgent. Computer games that I won't have time to play won't buy themselves you know.

Speaking of time, I've been doing what I can with each project and while it has been a struggle seeing as I've started shutting down at the end of the night. I'm getting used to doing a minimum of 10 hour if not 12 hour shifts every day. While the OT is great, it doesn't leave much me-time.

But I'll need that OT, especially if I make a certain purchase in the comings weeks which will greatly increase my debt.

Oh my poor wallet...

Project Derp:

Goal: $$$$

I had high hopes of making this project self-sustaining last month, but various other parties stopped talking to me so we're back to working on it on my own. It's still churning along, and I keep wishing I had more time to work on it.

And then I realized that I did have the time. I just had to be sneaky about it.

You see, being stuck in the office late at night isn't so bad. Especially when I'm the last one there with no one around to watch me. It's kind of funny, to think that I'm getting paid OT to work on this. Despite the lack of internet, I can still whip out my laptop and type things up for an hour or so before the last truck rolls into the plant.

Hopefully this can continue, despite the reduced work hours now that the construction season has ended.

Project Vegas:

Goal: Travel

Almost done this one here. I'm at about the 1/4, maybe 1/3 mark, and within the month I should have completed it. The oncoming Christmas season should definitely help though again, I am jealous of Americans. This would have been so much easier if I lived there but alas.

I'll make due with what I have in Canada.

It just snowed, and there is ice everywhere.

Project Pandering:

Goal: Learn and re-learn skills.

This is one project where I definitely need a day off to effectively do anything. And unfortunately, there haven't been many of those as of late. I mean, I could dedicate an hour in the evenings, or I could spend an hour letting my brain melt on Youtube after a long day at work.

Guess which one wins out more.

But again, the construction season has ended. So maybe I'll be able to make it home for dinner for the first time in a long time.

Project Jason:

Goal: Exercise

Again, this project has been the most consistent of all of them. Especially since I started working out with my personal trainer Eli. And he works me, and it hurts, and I love it. Well, I mostly love it. I still don't like leg day. Actually, I really dislike leg day, even before I started work with Eli.

I mean, I did a leg day workout with him last Tuesday. At the time of this post, it is Sunday. My calves have ALMOST stopped hurting. Almost. Oh, and want to hear a funny story?

It's a story about Damian sitting on a toilet after leg day. And then being unable to stand back up. He had to kind of push himself off the edge of the sink or else flop onto the cold bathroom floor and then wiggle back up. You realize how much fun that is right?

Luckily, my arms still worked fine.

Whoo! Lots of fun this month. If only I had more time to blog about it. Project progress inching along, the story regarding my CPAP machine to help with my sleeping problems will be posted as soon as I hear back from the doctors, and the purchase that will sink me far back into debt.

Oh, and my probation for my job is coming up within the next week or two. Wish me luck.