The no good, very bad day at the office

Picture this:

I am 22 years old and pretty fresh at my new office. I feel smug; getting this job was easy, and the job itself is easy enough, and it is so very nice to work 9-5pm, Monday to Friday, with benefits and paid vacation. Easy!

A few weeks into the new job, I ride the elevator with ten business men. We make small talk, and I say goodbye when we exit the elevator, but they don’t seem to be going into any of the other offices. In fact, they follow me all the way down the corridor to the very last office. My office. Strange, I don’t remember anyone telling me that there was a meeting first thing today? No matter. I will get these fine gentlemen settled and then I will perform my opening duties. But more and more people keep showing up in reception, so before I do anything else I get them seated in the boardroom.

But it turns out that there are two meetings happening, not one. I sheepishly walk down the hall and ask the people for Meeting B to please follow me to our conference room. Very quickly we run out of chairs for both meetings as more and more people show up, and I end up stealing chairs from my coworkers who are out at their own meetings or on vacation.

And then a third group of people arrive. Really? Now what? The board room and the conference rooms are being utilized, the only other meeting space available is… my boss’s office. I ask politely and he’s gracious enough. By now we’re out of coffee and water cups, too, and I have to go steal those from my coworker’s desks when they’re not looking.

And the phones won’t stop ringing. At times, all six lines are flashing and I can’t remember who is on what line and I am so tempted to close my eyes and clear all the lines and start fresh. I take a deep breath and pick up line 1 in time to hear *click.* I pick up line 2 just in time for line 1 to ring again. I transfer line 2 and answer line 1 and they hang up before I can even say hello. I go to line 3 and line 1 starts ringing again. Not wanting to piss off whoever keeps calling and hanging up, I put line 3 on hold again and answer line 1. CLICK. It takes everything in me not to slam the phone down or yell.

And then a fourth group of people show up and I want to cry. Where are we going to put these people?? My other boss is in this meeting and brings them down to her office, and I help her clear drawings and floor samples to make space around her work table. There aren’t enough chairs, so they stand around awkwardly. I don’t offer anyone coffee or water because there are no cups left.

And then I get an email from a partner, asking me to print 52 attached PDF’s. Sure, not a problem. I select all, and hit print. I let the printer do its thing for a while, but when I go to collect the prints, there are about a thousand sheets that say COMMAND ERROR. WHY, GOD, WHY? I can’t get it to stop. I try canceling it from the printer a dozen times, and it just won’t stop spitting out copies of the COMMAND ERROR document. Exasperated, I unplug the machine and the printing finally stops. I wait a moment before plugging it back in. Things are okay for three minutes… and then it goes right back to printing more COMMAND ERROR sheets. At this point I contemplate quitting. I unplug the machine again and put an Out of Order sign on it.

I ask the controller to please phone IT and she informs me that we don’t have IT, he left last month. I wonder how I’m going to push the duplex printer out the window and make it look like an accident.

While I’m away from my desk trying not to kick the printer, a courier arrives and takes it upon himself to find someone to sign for a package. The next thing I know, my boss is escorting him out of her office with a look on her face that very clearly says what the actual fuck, Rochele? and I want to dissolve into the floor in embarrassment. I tell her I’ll handle it from here and I walk him back to reception.

The phone rings from the board room. “Rochele, I need you to order lunch for Meeting A, it’s going to go on for a few more hours I think.” I call a bunch of places and no one will offer delivery on such short notice. The person who usually provides backup for me has already left to taker her lunch break, and it’s far too busy for me to leave my post. I timidly ask another coworker if she will please mind the phones and she barks at me, “I AM AN ARCHITECT, NOT A RECEPTIONIST. I DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE.” I am struggling not cry. Everything sucks. I feel like this job might be too much for me.

I go back to my desk and rehearse how I’m going to say no to buying lunch, but suddenly I see everyone from that meeting walking down the corridor towards the elevator. I AM SAVED! Until next week, when the meeting will continue, apparently.

The partner is hovering and asks me where his prints are, and I sheepishly tell him I’ve broken the printer. He sits me down and shows me how to cancel prints from my computer and how to make batches in Adobe. We plug the printer in again and pages and pages of the most beautiful documents that don’t have the words COMMAND ERROR on them come out warm and freshly pressed. I want to cry for a different reason. It’s just so beautiful.

The meetings end, the phones settle down, and the printer is quiet. The chairs are back in their respective workstations and I even manage to wash a few cups and make a pot of coffee. I realize it’s 4pm and I haven’t eaten my lunch yet, and really, I’m too tired to eat. I take a moment before launching into a slightly irrational, hunger fueled email about the importance of booking meeting spaces. What I really want to do is run off into the sunset and never come back, I start questioning my need to make money at all. Living in the forest far from a ringing phone or demon printer and meetings of any kind sounds a little bit like heaven.

At the end of the day, my boss calls to tell me that I did a great job handling the mayhem. I soften a little bit and put my plans to run away on hold for a while.

 

From Head to Ro – May 26, 2017 Dress Season is Open

Hello lovelies. It’s been a bit of a rough week, hasn’t it? I am grateful for friends who talk on the phone and say I love you when we’re done, and the ones who write me into commercials for sewing machines, and the ones who assure me I’m not a bad person because I’ve spent more money than I intended to. Thank you for letting me be me and loving me just the same.

I’m pleased to say that the weather has improved significantly and dress season is open. I wore two beautiful outfits that I failed to document, but many other things take priority over snapping pictures and writing about my clothes.

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Today I am wearing the sweetest dress from Simons via Mama Ro. It’s off the shoulder, it has buttons down the front, it has a tie, it has embroidery, it’s midi length, it’s got stripes. It sounds like it has a lot going on, but this dress is understated.

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I just love the details of this dress.

I’ve paired it with a pair of strappy, cognac, leather sandals from Clarks, a gift from Papa Ro a few years ago. I kind of love that I’m wearing an outfit from my parents.

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Leather sandals

Today is also the last day that I will be a redhead. Tomorrow morning I’ll be returning to life as a brunette. I loved having red hair, but I hated the maintenance and the financial burden of keeping it looking nice. Red hair fades to a really ugly colour very quickly. Without an expensive colour deposit shampoo, conditioner, and a pigment wash every couple of weeks, my hair looked magenta and I started to dread washing my hair because it meant using up product, and I really didn’t want to buy any more. I am looking forward to using light towels without leaving pink streaks everywhere. Going back to brunette isn’t going to cost less than staying red for another cycle, but this is the start of winding down expensive, finicky hair. It will be so nice to wash my hair without mentally rationing how much shampoo I have left.

I spend too much money and I’m unhappy about it

I have a shopping and money spending addiction. There, I said it. This is a dark spot in my life, and things tend to get out of control very quickly.

Am I going to remember the good times I had using a new makeup primer? No. The one I bought two months ago is fine, and there is a lot of it left.

Oh but I read about double cleansing and I’d like to try that! Cool, but I already have all the stuff I need to try double cleansing, there is no need to buy new products to try a different technique.

In late 2016 I recognized that my makeup purchasing was out of control, so I challenged myself not to buy any more until 2018 unless I ran out of a specific item. I’ve run out of concealer a couple of times, and I did buy two tubes of lipstick after receiving two new lipsticks that I got for my birthday after loving the wear and formula. But I recognize that the joy of four new lipsticks was short-lived. Not too bad, right? Two tubes of lipstick aren’t going to ruin me.

However, I essentially replaced my makeup buying addiction with a skincare buying addiction. I hate myself a little bit. I need to unsubscribe and unfollow all the beauty accounts that I have on social media. Yesterday I found myself on the Kiehl’s website and almost had to slap my hand from buying skincare that I don’t need. Rochele, we have an agreement. When things run out, you can try something new.

This happens with everything in my life. I get excited about something and I go crazy. If you didn’t know, I also sew. Lately I’ve been sewing kimonos, and I went a little nuts ordering fabric and I have enough to make 13 kimonos. I don’t have time to make 13 kimonos. Ugh, I hate myself.

As of right now, I’m expecting a new bike helmet, and two new pairs of glasses (damn you, BOGO.) That’s not terrible except in the last month I’ve bought two new pairs of sandals, a bag, two pairs of sunglasses, three blouses, four pairs of work pants, a pair of flats, a car, dishes, and a couch. Okay, the last three were household purchases and I don’t know if they count, and some of the clothes were for job interviews I went to, and I had a birthday in there and received quite a bit of money. Some of that was okay, but I definitely didn’t need to buy all of it.

I tell myself that I can’t afford a membership for barre classes, but I drop $150 without blinking. I tell myself that I can’t afford to go on a trip, but I have Rouge status at Sephora. I tell myself that it’s okay to buy that necklace because it’s only $65 and I didn’t spend money yesterday. I justify spending money on things because all the bills get paid and I contribute to RRSP’s, TFSA’s, and my spouse and I own a home and there is money left over every month. I am very much a quality over quantity person, but I am still guilty of falling for new things.

Despite attempts to control myself and set limits, I can’t seem to live within them. My spending habits have come under scrutiny many, many times and I have faced harsh judgment. I love makeup, perfume, clothing, and shoes. Yes, I have a lot of it. Yes, I want more. I have a job where I am expected to look my best, and I like to look my best in my private life, too. Although it is NOBODY’S BUSINESS, I am sharing this with the world so that I might be more accountable and begin to restructure my life to be a healthier and happier version of me.

From Head to Ro – May 20, 2017 #campxcamp Edition

I wear my granddad’s clothes, I look incredible…

Friends, I am at the beautiful Cheakamus Centre (formerly the North Vancouver Outdoor School) for adult summer camp and I am loving it. 

I started my morning with yoga, and it was supposed to be outside but it was 4C, so instead it was held inside the building where we used to square dance and perform in the talent show. It was still really chilly, so I wore my UNIQLO thermal underwear, my Arbor constellations onesie, my grandpa’s old wool sweater, a pair of pink Converse, and I pulled the whole look together with my pink sunglasses. 


Just a few short hours later I was laying on that dock in my space shuttle bathing suit. It never occured to me how awesome my clothing is until today. These aren’t things I save for special occasions; these are things I wear all the time. I mean, I don’t usually wear my onesie out of the house, but I wear it pretty regularly. I own four of them. Variety. 


Anyway. I am having a marvelous time. After yoga, I made my own bath salts and my own aromatherapy roller ball perfume. I was supposed to go to a health elixir class, but I kind of went suntanning on the dock instead. You know how these things go when the sun is shining and you haven’t seen it for… months. 


Oh. And yesterday I nearly kissed a goat. Having a great time. 


 

From Head to Ro – May 17, 2017

In some parts of Canada, it’s warm and sunny and summer is well on its way. And then there’s Vancouver, and I seriously thought about putting my flannel sheets back on the bed last night. I am so tired of being cold and I’m chomping at the bit to wear something other than a sweater.

I’m still wearing clothes with a lot of coverage, but in lighter weights. This maxi skirt came from H&M four years ago; I seem to take exceptionally good care of my clothes because they seem to last forever. It’s a little bit more effort, but the majority of my clothes get hung to dry and I use a liquid fabric softener in the wash. Trust me, liquid fabric softener makes a huge difference for air-dried clothes.

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Navy maxi skirt

I’m wearing this skirt at the skinniest part of my waist, and it goes all the way to the floor. This skirt is very forgiving and it’s nice and swishy. In the summer, I wear this skirt with a bustier tank and strappy sandals and it’s a great casual look. The long skirt also looks great with a crop top – loose or fitted, and like today, with a button up blouse that I’ve chosen to knot in the front rather than tuck in. I know I harp on repurposing clothes and trying new outfit combinations a lot, but I own today’s maxi skirt in three different colours and I wear them with so many different tops to create unique looks and they’ve been a spring/summer/fall staple in my wardrobe for years.
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The blouse came from H&M last month. I’ve rolled up the cuffs and knotted it in the front, otherwise this outfit looks a little too Edwardian School Teacher, which is cool, but it’s not the look I’m going for. I doubt Edwardian school teachers wore polka dots, anyway. The structured top brings a nice balance to the free-flowing skirt.

From Head to Ro – May 12, 2017 

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing recently. It started with a kimono that I bought on a trip to Calgary. I went to this wonderful shop called Purr and my eyes fell upon a kimono that looked like it was made from a vintage bed sheet or maybe even a table cloth. It was on sale for $39, down from $79, I thought that was a good deal until I went home and looked at the construction of the garment and realized I could make the same thing for less than half the cost in about an hour.  I was right.

I found some really easy kimono tutorials, but eventually settled on this one from Brit + Co. I got really excited and kind of cocky and went to town on one of my old but pretty table cloths. I was too focused on preserving the pretty borders and modified the design and you know what? It didn’t work out very well. I tried again with the remaining fabric with less modifications and it still wasn’t very good, but it was better.

A few days later I went to Value Village and found myself in the sheets/linens/material section, and all I could see was kimonos. Kimonos everywhere. I eventually settled on a vintage table cloth and a lovely blush floral patterned piece of fabric. Each piece was under $6, good deal.

I tried again with the blush floral fabric, and didn’t deviate from the pattern and instructions this time. And you know what? Sweet, beautiful success. You don’t have to own a sewing machine to make a kimono, hand stitching will work.

The vintage table cloth worked out incredibly well, too. There was less work involved in that one as the edges were already finished, so it has more of a professional look to it. There is one difference, though. It was a 50″x50″ square, as opposed to the 40″x50″ length that the pattern calls for, and I decided not to modify it. It’s a bit longer in the front and back, but I actually prefer the longer style.


Which brings me to today. It’s Friday and I’m wearing the blush kimono, a pair of Joe Fresh straight-leg jeans, a camisole that I bought at Garage Clothing six or seven years ago, and a pair of flats that I bought at Walmart. I knew that when I started talking about my clothes that I’d be giving up all my style secrets and sins, and yes, from time to time I shop at Walmart.

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Today’s very affordable ensemble

Everyone should know that having style shouldn’t be unaffordable. I try not to dabble in fast fashion too often, but I repurpose a lot of pieces. Dresses can be turned into skirts, maxi skirts are now midi skirts, and old t-shirts are now crops or sleeveless. Again, if it doesn’t work out, I haven’t lost much by altering a piece of clothing that was on its way out anyway. Beware of Value Village, though. If you go there with the idea that you can alter things, you’ll buy way too much and end up not wearing most of it. Pick a project, and go with a purpose and a budget. Being open minded at Value Village/thrift stores is a very slippery slope into wardrobe chaos.

 

From Head to Ro – May 11, 2017

Real talk: I’ve been in a rut for the last couple of days. I’ve been anxious and cranky and withdrawn, and that’s okay. I felt very frumpy yesterday. I am a wee bit puffy (THANKS FOR NOTHING, PMS) and was feeling less than svelte in my tight tank top and skinny pants, but I threw on a kimono and went to work as one does since nudity in the work place isn’t an option for me. God bless kimonos, and you betcha there is going to be a post about those soon enough.

Some days I can put on a fresh appearance and work through it, and other days I can’t. I just can’t. The last two days have been unproductive, and again, that’s okay from time to time, but I think I’m back in business today.

Oh, one more whine before I get on with things; IT’S RAINING AGAIN. Yes, I’m in Vancouver and I am used to this, but I’ll never like these dark, wet days. I almost always carry an umbrella with me, but today I was extra prepared when I wore these Jeffrey Campbell Stormy rain boots.

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Jeffrey Campbell Stormy rain boots

They’ve got a pointier toe than the picture shows and I can wear them outside as well as around the office. I own them in black, too. I had to try very hard not to wear these every day this winter, but they went with everything. I wore them with rolled up skinny pants, skirts and tights, dresses and tights, leggings and sweaters; they truly went with everything and they came from Urban Outfitters and were reasonably priced at $62.00. 10/10 would buy again. If I had a capsule wardrobe, these would definitely be part of it.

Today I’m wearing these boots with black tights and a shirt dress with a very bold print. Cats and flowers, to be exact.

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Cats and flowers

I love patterns. I wish my full-time job was to look at textiles and patterns all day long. I feel like this is a good in-between seasons look, I just wish it felt like it was between spring and summer and not winter and spring. Sigh, it turns out I’m still a little cranky. The dress came from Top Shop a few years ago on clearance and the tights are from Simons. When the weather inevitably gets nicer, I’ll wear it without leggings and pair it with pointy, black flats or oxfords, and I’ll probably fold the sleeves to my forearm to give it a less structured look.

My glasses came from FyshUK, a very fun eyewear company.