Into The Woods

The past few weeks have been busier than my normal ‘windmilling-through-life” everyday experience. I attended ROAM and will write about that soon, because I have finally had time to proces it and want to share what I took away from it. I was then away for another reason that is not my story to tell, even though it impacts me. I was gone from home for six days straight and came home exhausted, but had to dive back into life and work and kids and I would have lost my ever-loving mind had we not made plans to head to the cabin for a part of the long weekend.

I still had to work while there (I always have to work — it’s what I do), but when my work was done I was able to join my family outside. It was cooler than normal and there was even snow (!) mixed in with the rain on Sunday night, but we donned our hoodies and jackets and made the most of it.

On Sunday, we walked on our usual snow shoe route behind our cabin. It’s amazing how different it looks while being equally as beautiful as when it is all covered in snow.

Hikers

There’s a cabin in the woods not far from our place that was built by (and is maintained by) someone connected to the mountain. It’s there for anyone to use if they need shelter or fire or somewhere to just eat their lunch.

Cabin in the woods

The inside, with Graham the poser in the background.

Inside the cabin

We didn’t spend all of our time hiking, of course. We played board games and watched movies and built a campfire out front so that we could make s’mores.

S'mores!

True confession: I don’t care much for s’mores. I ate the chocolate and snuck the graham crackers and marshmallows to Diesel. I hope we can still be friends.

There’s something about being outside that is cleansing and healing and when you throw in some mountain air, it’s perfection. Every time we get to the cabin, I feel my shoulders relax and my entire body exhales. I get the chance to remove myself from the mundane tasks of the everyday, which gives me the time to pause and to think and to see things with greater clarity. I always come back rested and relaxed, but also energized and with a renewed focus. It feels good to go, and it feels good to be back.

 

Blossoms

It’s that time of year that us accountants who work in public practice affectionately refer to as Tax Season. (By “affectionately”, I mean “matter-of-factly.”)

This isn’t my first Tax Season, and will not be my last, but this one has kicked my tail. I’m working weekends (Just Saturdays), but not the long days I’ve worked in Tax Seasons of yore. I just feel tired, even though I’m sleeping 7-8 hours a night, eating well, running three days a week and keeping up with boot camp. Life with a teenager and two preteens is busy, yes, but life has been busy since I had those three kids in under four years. I’m more tired than usual for this time of year.

Last Friday I dropped by my Naturopath’s office to buy some iron, as I tend to be low on iron and have only taken it when I was pregnant. The last time I was pregnant was…ten years ago. (TEN YEARS AGO. #old) My iron stores have probably flatlined. I am also getting older. (#stating the obvious) My doctor concurred that taking iron is a good idea and then asked me how heavy my flow is. (Nothing like a male doctor who is also your friend asking you about your menstrual flow. Neat.)

Saturday morning, I woke up and my eyes were so swollen that I looked as though I had cried myself to sleep. (I had not.) I trudged my way through work, and then came home and crawled into bed for a quick nap. I woke up ninety minutes later. I was a little groggy, but my eyes looked more like their regular shape and size. I napped again on Sunday and once the fog wore off, I felt awake for the first time in weeks. Just in time for Monday to rear its ugly head.

Ten more days until the Canadian tax filing deadline, folks, and then I will nap like I have never napped before. I will feel awake again, for at least a full day. (The 30th is on a Saturday this year, so you actually have until Monday, May 2nd, to file, but please don’t tell our clients, okay? We’ve made the 30th our finish line and it’s in plain sight.)

The girls

I have a confession to make:

I do not watch a lot of T.V. I never really have.

While my work situation has varied over the years, I have always worked, and usually worked more than one job. Right now, I’m still loving my new full-time job, and doing contract accounting work on the weekends. I also have one husband, three kids, and a home to keep in order. I make time to run and attend the gym, and we’re at the tail end of ski season. There just aren’t enough hours in the day left over to watch everything that is offered via regular T.V. or Netflix because if I don’t get my seven hours of sleep, I’m not the only one who suffers. I drink my fair share of coffee, but its magic only reaches so far.

One Friday night about a month ago, Emily and I settled in on the couch to see if we could find a movie to watch together. The boys have Youth Group on Friday nights, so she and I use that time to watch movies that the boys wouldn’t be interested in. As we were scrolling through Netflix, I saw that Gilmore Girls was an option. I’ve never watched it (Only so many hours!) and had heard great things, so we decided to give it a try. Halfway through the first episode we were hooked and Matthew, who was sitting across from us surfing on his phone, was seen glancing at the T.V. screen as well.

We decided to watch a couple of more episodes the next night, and I soon realized that all five of us were on the couch and watching it. Yes, Graham and Nathan were into it. Yes, even Matthew was into it, phone down. (He thinks it has great writing! At least he’s not reading certain magazines “for the great articles.”)

It’s become part of our nightly routine. Dinner is finished and cleaned up, lunches are packed for school and lunch the next day, and we settle in for an episode before the kids head to bed.

(Matthew and I discovered How I Met Your Mother (aka “Our Show”) and will watch an episode or two after the kids are tucked in.)

This past weekend we were at the cabin and instead of popping in a movie or two at night, we all wanted to watch Gilmore Girls. An episode would end and we’d all yell, “No!” followed immediately by, “One more!” I think we watched ten episodes over two nights.

We’re now on season three and it’s gotten to the point where I think about it during the day and can’t wait to watch it at night. We’re going up to the cabin for Easter weekend and there will be some serious binge-watching. I refused to be ashamed about it.

Sunday Run day
It’s been three weeks since I started my new job, and three weeks since I last wrote a post. These two things are (obviously) related. There really are only so many hours in a day, and those hours have filled up fast. Adding something that large to our family unit takes a few weeks to get all of the cogs of our lives moving and working together, but patience and perseverance soon sees all of the areas of my life working like a well-oiled machine.

I don’t know how you function, but I am of the Type A variety. The more I have on my plate, the more organized I get, and the more I get done. This remains true until the people pleaser in me has a hard time saying no, and the scales tip, and I lose my ever-loving mind. Thankfully, I’ve become a cold-hearted wench better at saying no in my old age. I also have one teenager and two tweens who are doing much more around here, which makes a huge difference.

Work is good. Really good. It’s getting busier (Hooray for tax time!) and I’m using parts of my brain that I haven’t used in a few years. I’m surprising myself with how much I really do know (Funny how twenty years of experience adds up), and am having a lot of fun (Yes, fun!) meeting with clients about their taxes and financial situations. I come home every day feeling like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Hi, my name is Angella, and I like my job like the math nerd I am.

One part of my life that took a hit with me going back to work full-time was my running routine. My usual running time during the week is after the kids go to school, but that is no longer an option. It was too dark (and cold) to run before work, and too dark to run after work. As happens every February, though, is that the days start getting longer. I now have enough daylight after work to get a run in on my running days before making dinner. YES.

I went for a long run this past Sunday, full of excitement about resuming my three-days-per-week running routine, when I realized that my job is not entirely to blame for a few weeks of one or two runs per week. It happens every year around this time because we ski. The reason I was able to run on Sunday is because it’s one of the few weekends that we haven’t gone skiing.  Poor me. I have to skip a run so that I can ski and snow shoe in the great outdoors up at Apex. #firstworldproblems

:: Rolls eyes at myself ::

Eye strain aside, all is well over here, except for a flu bug that hit G over the weekend and Emily is valiantly trying to fend off. I’m in the groove at work and I have our home and activities routine down to a science. It feels great to be back in my (ski season) running routine, especially since it’s been sunny and spring-like. I am, however, in desperate need of podcast recommendations for running (I love Nerdist and Season 1 of Serial, but Season 2 isn’t working for me). I still listen to music for the most part when I run, but I’m starting to like listening to podcasts to mix things up a little.

(For my parents: Podcasts are like radio shows, but you download them and listen to them via your computer or your phone.)(I put my phone into an armband, strap it to my arm, and use ear buds to listen to music or podcasts.)(I also stop sometimes during my run, take my phone out of the armband, and take photos. Look up. Look waaaaaaay up.)

* Stressed Out is Nathan’s song that he plays on repeat when he needs to stay calm (i.e. on the way to a basketball game). The irony amuses me.

Happy Trails

When people ask me what I do for a living, the short answer is that I’m an accountant. The long answer is that for the last four years I have balanced a number of part-time accounting jobs and a few writing gigs in order to bring in income while also having flexibility. I’ve been able to be with my kids before and after school, and to be a parent helper when the need arose. I’m thankful for all that I’ve been able to do with my kids during school hours, but things are changing.

My kids are growing up. G is in Quebec on a school trip without me, Nathan is in middle school with his brother, and Emily is almost done elementary school. Once the kids hit third grade, parent help is rarely needed except for field trips (I’m going cross country skiing with Emily’s class next week. Fun!). When they hit the middle school, you’re not needed at all. The kids are growing up, gaining independence, etcetera.

As 2015 came to a close I had dropped all of my jobs except for the one online contract accounting job I’ve had for twelve years now. The work level ebbs and flows and it pays well and I didn’t need to work any more than those few hours a week. The problem is, I do need to work, only not for financial reasons (Though that’s definitely a bonus). I like to be working on something, I like to keep learning, and I like to interact with people. The busier I am, the more I get done. If my days are wide open, I spend most of the time trying to decide what I should do, rather than actually doing anything.

After Christmas, I started keeping my eyes open for any positions that would be local and flexible. Living in a small town means that the odds of finding an accounting job for someone with my designation is about as likely as anyone spelling my name right without me telling them that it has two l’s.

Last Tuesday night, I saw an ad that had been posted by a recruiting company and it was hiring for a Kelowna firm that had an accounting office in Summerland. There is only one accounting office in Summerland. I sent off my resume.

Wednesday morning, I was in Kelowna running errands and my cell phone rang. The woman from the recruitment office was calling to talk about the job. I met her for an interview within the hour and it went well. She emailed a few hours later and said that the partners wanted to meet me the next day. I drove back to Kelowna on Thursday and met the two of them, and left feeling good about their firm and our meeting. They offered me the job on Friday. Boom.

I spent the day in their main office yesterday for orientation and to get to know the rest of the team (They are all lovely). I came home and just knew that it was the right fit for me and for our family. I spent today in the Summerland office getting up to speed on the happenings with our clients here, and even have lunch plans tomorrow with the investment ladies a few doors down that I know from other areas of my life and from our community.

I’m really happy and excited about all of it. I get to work in the community I live in (and love). I get to do the kind of work that I enjoy, which involves keeping my knowledge sharp and helping others with stuff they don’t know how to get their head around. (MATH, man. Everybody hates math. And taxes.) The more I learn about the company I’m working with, the more I like it and the people in it, and I’ve only been there two days. I can walk to work in minutes. I have flexibility, and reduced hours when it’s not tax season. I get to wear nice clothes instead of workout gear during the day and have the funds to buy said nice clothes. I…can’t think of any cons and I don’t foresee any arising aside from having to say no to skiing during the week, which is commonplace for most people who are good at adulting.

Also, now Mondays and Fridays have meaning again. I get to blame Mondays for being Monday and tomorrow is TGIF. Have a great weekend, folks.

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