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My Book & Show-Offs

I’m not much of a show-offy person. This is something most hold as an endearing trait, and few have much patience for the opposite. Especially in Canada, we kind of feel like nobody should stand out. And if you bring attention to something you do well, you run the risk of rubbing people the wrong way.

I’m not sure why we hate show-offs so much. Maybe it’s linked to not being truly happy for other people’s successes. Because if we’re not happy for someone it means we’re mad we don’t have something ourselves.

When I was in Grade 8 we did a gymnastics rotation in gym. Each girl had to come up with a floor routine. I had done gymnastics for years and although I wasn’t fantastic, I was probably better than everyone in my class. I could do flips and walkovers and I was really bendy. But you know what I did? I performed a lame-ass routine that didn’t showcase any skills at all. I didn’t want to bring attention to myself. How pathetic.

A friend of mine is always saying what a disservice it is to not bring attention to your strengths. And he’s right. We don’t have to be arrogant about it, we just have to be appropriately proud of our accomplishments.

I have written a book. It is very hard for me to put it out there for everyone to see like this. Not only does it give readers a glimpse into my mind, but it opens me up to be hugely criticized. Some people will like my book, some people will dislike it. I just hope people understand how much work it takes to finish a book, and how embarrassing it is to put something subjective like this out there.

Enjoy.

To buy the book, click here (for Kindle users) or here (for other ereaders).

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Why I Have A Beef With Pharmaceutical Companies & How To Get Rid Of Lice (All In One!)

My kid and I got lice a while back. God only knows where she picked it up because she’s not in daycare, but whatever. So I did about 17 loads of hot laundry, bagged up some toys and couch cushions and proceeded to buy the de-lousing shampoo from the drug store.

Having now had the nasty things I have a big beef with the companies who make the lice treatments. It is 100% unnecessary and ill-advised to buy this shampoo.

The reason even the manufacturers suggest doing the treatment once, and then again in 7 -10 days, is because it does not necessarily kill the eggs. If the eggs aren’t killed they will hatch in a few days and you’ll have the problem all over again.

There are a number of things wrong with pharmacists suggesting this treatment.

First of all, it’s expensive. Where I live, it costs almost $20 for one treatment.

Second, the bottle is really small, so if you have long, abundant hair like mine it will often not be enough.

Third, it’s made of questionable toxins that they advise you don’t get in your eyes or your mouth. I don’t know if you’ve tried to wash a child’s hair, but the chances of doing exactly that are great (especially on a toddler who doesn’t like her hair washed).

Fourth, lice eat your head and leave lesions, even if you don’t scratch. The chemicals burn on these lesions, causing not only discomfort for the 10 minutes you have to leave it on, but also concerns over those toxins entering your body through those scabs.

A treatment that is cheaper, healthier and equally, if not more, effective: don’t poison the lice, suffocate them.

After a horrendous experience de-lousing my toddler with the lice shampoo, I asked the pharmacist if there was a viable alternative. She told me to use a thick substance (cheap conditioner is easiest, mayonnaise is also good) and coat it over your whole head. Really heap it on. On my hair it took a half litre of conditioner. Wrap your head in plastic wrap and go about your business. I don’t know how long it takes to smother bugs so I left it for a couple of hours.  Then, drag a fine-toothed comb through the hair to remove the carcases. This step is easier using conditioner, but if you’re using mayo, just dip the comb in vinegar before each swipe to break up the coating and make it easy to comb through.

Often, the eggs are too small to be removed with the comb. And similar to using the toxic shampoo, they will not likely be dead. Now this is where I have a real problem with the instructions on lice shampoo. Re-do the treatment after 7 days? In my experience, the lice had not only already been able to hatch in that time, but also lay more eggs of their own. My advice? If you’re anal like me, do the gooping conditioner/mayo treatment every other day for a week. Although, I’m sure doing it every 2 or 3 days for three treatments would suffice.

I’m not spouting nonsense. It is only logical that this works because insects cannot live without oxygen. Also, I tried it and kicked the problem in the ass.

Speaking of kickers: you have to be diligent about washing/putting in plastic bags any other items in your house that may have been in contact with the infected person’s head. It’s not that you have to go overboard, you just have to be aware and take precautions. Wash whatever you can in hot water and put couch pillows/stuffed animals/hats in air-tight plastic bags for a couple of weeks.

There is no reason to spend upwards of $40, intoxicate yourself and keep our elementary schools dealing with this disgusting problem. This way is safe, it works like nobody’s business, and it’s cheap. Don’t listen to your pharmacist.

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Incompetent Employees

The following hypothesis might explain why an employee at a bathing suit store recently asked me, as I was perusing a rack of bathing suits, if I was shopping for a bathing suit.

I have mentioned before that I got fired when I was fifteen from an athletic shoe store. The manager told me that I wasn’t outgoing enough. If I’d had the balls I have today I’d have asked him to compare my sales numbers with my co-workers’, but maybe that’s just because in my older years I’ve come to enjoy making people uncomfortable.

I bring up the fact that I was canned to express frustration over how many people DON’T get canned for doing really, really bad work. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen how shoddily a co-worker has performed their duties only for them to skim under the radar or get lucky time and time again with the lack of oversight from their supervisors.

My husband and I have talked about this at length and have come to the conclusion that most people are fairly incompetent. That is, most can DO their jobs, but few can do it very well. Just think of all the companies you’ve done business with to order an item, retrieve information or request a service only to have the employees seriously fail to do what is very likely their only job description.

In most places of work there is a three-month probation period that I have yet to see taken advantage of. I don’t know if bosses hate the hiring process so much that they just let it go and hope the idiot employee just gets better, or if they are so incompetent themselves that they don’t see it in someone else. I would venture that it’s a combination of both, plus the embarrassment at having to admit they’d wasted company resources hiring and training said idiot due to a serious lack of good judgment. Anyway, it’s unfair for all those people who need jobs and can work well.

I think a lot of people fall into jobs out of pure chance or necessity and perhaps weren’t created specifically for it. In fact, I would call that the majority given the number of people I have met who would say they are not working in their dream job. This isn’t a particularly bad thing. However, it becomes a terrible waste when a person lacks the work ethic and integrity to at least make their best effort on the job.

I know the reason many people keep their jobs or get promoted despite not being good in the first place is often because they are either well-liked, or because they are unethical. Being popular and/or having no scruples often does wonders for one’s career.

I would switch with Stephenie Meyer any day. That is, mine isn’t my dream job. But I hope that most days I come into work I take pride in what I do, both for my own fulfillment and for the satisfaction of those who pay me well to do it. I don’t want anybody saying “CRACKERS, that Laura sucks ASS” behind my back, because if they did then I’d have to take a good long look at how grateful I am for having a job at all.

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Attention: Women

There is a new sign above the toilet in the women’s washroom at my work that reads “Please DO NOT dispose of your feminine napkins in the toilet. Use the garbage receptacle.” I know why this sign was made. On several occasions I have seen menses-matter in the commode and it revolts me for several reasons. First, the obvious notion that these things should not be going in the toilet. In fact, aside from the occasional soft leftovers-gone-rotten from the fridge, bodily eliminations and TP should be the only things deposited in a toilet. It’s not good for the pipes. Second, if I’m seeing this stuff then the person before me didn’t stay in the stall long enough to ensure the water fully carried her contribution away. Menses-matter is the nastiest to behold, so extra time should be taken to witness its total disappearance. Otherwise, another flush may be necessary. Finally, if you are employed at my place of work, I tend to assume a certain amount of intelligence, environmental awareness and basic sophistication. Exposing your coworkers to these unmentionables astounds me. I guess we’re not all as erudite, savvy and classy as I would expect of a professional bunch. 

That’s it. I have commented on bathroom matters before, and I probably shouldn’t again. But please adjust your behaviour accordingly. It’s just not cool.

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