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I've dropped out of the rat race

I've been meaning to write a journal on this for the last, erm, ten days smiley - blush but somehow haven't found much time for it.

A few months ago, a round of voluntary redundancy came out at work, with a reasonably generous package. Me and Dave talked it over, and came to a couple of conclusions. One was that the automotive industry in the UK isn't exactly in the best shape at the moment, and it made sense for one of us to think about jumping ship. The other was that as we're thinking of starting a family soon, a lump sum to chuck at the mortgage would be useful. So I applied, and much to a lot of people's surprise, they actually let me go! I actually left work officially on the 30th June.

Given various things, we decided that I wouldn't look for another job immediately - and even if I did feel like getting another job, that it would only be part-time (20hrs / week max) so I could still look after the house properly. And as soon as I got pregnant, I'd quit anyway.

I've been amazed at people's reactions to it. I half expected people would be sniffy about it, but the vast majority of people have understood (and envied!) and are amazed that someone my age would put family and home before a career. I was humbled by so many men who told me that they wished that their wives could afford to have done what I'm doing.

I'm in my second week of officially being a lady of leisure smiley - biggrin. It's been nice to have time to clean the house properly, to prepare meals properly, to see other friends during the day... So far the only time I have the TV on is in the morning to watch the breakfast news! I've been sufficiently busy as to not feel like I'm a lady of leisure at all smiley - laugh.

So... I have some free time. I hope to get around to finishing the Guide Entries I've been sitting on for months (and maybe writing a few more!). I hope to have time to cook, to bake cakes, and to begin learning how to be a housewife (a term that deserves more respect in my book!). I feel more excited about that than I have done in the last 18 months or so of my job!

Here's to the future, and whatever it brings smiley - cheers

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Latest reply: Jul 11, 2006

Dunno if any of you lot are interested...

But I've put some pics of us in Canada onto:[email protected]/

So now you can see what me and Dave look like! smiley - biggrin

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Latest reply: Jun 27, 2006

What I did on my holidays (part 2)

Right, now that I appear to have got over the worst of my jet-lag, I can actually write something coherent smiley - laugh.

We had three nights (2 actual days) in Calgary, and once we got over our jet lag, we really liked the place. We managed to stay awake till 9pm local time (4am UK time)and once we woke up at 6am Calgary time the next day, we were pretty much adjusted smiley - biggrin.

We just walked around downtown Calgary, visited the Calgary tower, went to a couple of shopping malls, and just explored it. What amazed us was a) how clean and tidy the place was, almost no litter or graffiti, b) how friendly everyone was, and c) how safe it felt for a city which is probably the size of Birmingham.

Then we had our trip on the Rocky Mountaineer, through Banff and then onto Kamloops for an overnight, then onto Vancouver. We only had the lower level of ticket, but it was still utterly brilliant. The scenery was utterly stunning, and you could probably do that journey every day for a year and still not see everything. Also, the service and the food was impeccable (and in the case of the food, extremely plentiful) - although we did feel like we were going to explode when we got to Vancouver!

We had a couple of nights in Vancouver, and again we just walked around the downtown bit and explored. It utterly chucked it down while we were there, but apparently that's nothing unusual for Vancouver. Our hotel had stunning views of the downtown skyline, and in the parking lot opposite, a film crew set up shop (didn't see anyone famous, though, and we have no idea what they were filming!).

We then picked up our hire car, a Chrysler PT Cruiser, and drove up to spend a night at Whistler. Whistler seemed weird, as it's very obviously a resort town, but it was still very friendly and chilled out. We took the gondola up Whistler mountain and there was still enough snow up there for people to be skiing and snowboarding!

From there we set off towards Jasper, breaking our journey at 100 Mile House. Our travel agent obviously only had the one hotel in the area, which turned out to be a health farm smiley - laugh. Not that we did much there - we pretty much got there at tea time and left early the next morning!

Jasper is a nice place, a very small town that's easy to walk around with friendly locals and lots of good restaurants. We went up the Jasper tramway and got great views over the Rockies and the town of Jasper with nearby lakes, and even went for a walk up the mountain.

From there we took the Icefields Parkway, and all I can say for that is WOW. It is truly a stunning drive through some astonishing scenery, and I'm so glad we did it. We also stopped off at the Icefields Centre and went for a trip on the Athabasca glacier - well worth taking hiking boots for!

We then called in at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Lake Louise *is* pretty, but it just didn't seem as pretty as it should have been, if that makes sense. Moraine Lake was pretty, even though it still had patches of ice on it!

We then got to Banff, and just chilled out. Again, Banff is very obviously a resort town, and the prices seem to be higher there to take advantage of the tourists, but it's still a clean and friendly place and easy to explore. We went to see Lake Minnewanka (admittedly, only because I saw it on a map and thought it sounded funny) and Two Jack Lake. By then, it was time to pack up ready for our flight home...

I'll miss Canada. The people all seemed genuinely friendly and easy to talk to, even Vancouver wasn't anywhere near as grubby or graffitied as where I live in Leamington, and I'll miss just how cheap and plentiful the food was out there. In one place we had a three course meal, plus drinks, for $35 (roughly £18)! Also, house prices out there are cheaper than here, and even in Vancouver the prices are equivalent to Leamington.

However, it was nice to get home to our own bed, a proper sofa (it's amazing how much you miss that!), and proper English tea. Canada is very American in that it's mostly strong coffee, and the tea out there is mostly smiley - yuk.

Dave's pretty much over his jet lag, and I'm getting there. The worst thing is that the plane food appears to have given me gastro-enteritis, as I've had really bad stomach pains, diarrhoea, fever etc since we got back smiley - erm. I'm getting better, though - and it was still worth it to explore Canada smiley - biggrin

Oh, and Chris has moved out of our house altogether smiley - wow - but that's a story for another day...

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Latest reply: Jun 2, 2006

What I did on my holidays... (part 1, written while jetlagged)

Well, I'm back from Canada, and this is pretty much something to keep me awake while I get over jet lag - I've been awake for a grand total of 26 hours and counting smiley - yikessmiley - yawn. We landed at Gatwick at 7am this morning and finally got through our front door at half past 12 thanks to the wonders of the British Rail system. I find it sadly amusing that the whole flight from Calgary took less than 9 hours, yet it took us five whole hours to get between London and Leamington Spa smiley - erm.

We had a wonderful time - the scenery was amazing, the people were lovely, and the food was fab too (I think I've put half a stone on in less than two weeks!). The Rocky MOutainteer train journey was brilliant, Banff and Jasper are brilliant places...we've got roughly 500 pics, some of which are decent too

I'll probably write something more detailed soon. I'm on a bit of an energy/mental efficiency rollercoaster at the moment and in my tired moments i start to lack coherence... as I am now. Dave is also getting very sleepy but is managing to be more coherent than me which isn't that hard at the best of times smiley - laugh.

Till then, I'm off to drink lts of smiley - coffee till its bedtime. Chat to you all soon!!

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Latest reply: May 31, 2006

Wibble.... Arrgh!

Well, this time next week, me and Dave will (hopefully) be on a plane flying to Canada for our two week holiday around the Rockies smiley - wow. It feels like so long since we last had a proper holiday, and work has been a pain, and especially having Chris in our house, that we're really looking forward to it.

I have approximately (as of this moment in time) 25 working hours left (4 days) before I go on holiday - and a lot of majorly important testing is supposed to happen while I'm away, and right now it's all falling apart and going to rat-poo. You know when something goes wrong, and then it all cascades from there, and pretty soon you're wondering why on Earth you bothered even trying as it feels like the whole universe is against you? That's how it feels right now. And I can't see how on earth I'm going to be able to recover all this in the time I have left at work.

On top of all that, Dave's work is going similarly wrong and it looks like they want him to work this weekend, which we were going to spend visiting my parents.

And I'm going to have to have some serious words with Chris regarding him keeping the house in a reasonably clean state while we're away, else I'm going to come back from Canada and kill him. Things like putting the dried washing up away, wiping the surfaces down if you get them dirty, and emptying the washing machine when it's finished a cycle all sound minor things, but after a while they add up into a big mess. (Besides, he piles things up on the drainer such that they're in a really precarious pile, and as a result of trying to find some mugs under the mess once I dislodged and accidentally smashed one of our dining plates!)

I've really struggled with having Chris in the house - I like my home to be my sanctuary, and I lost that feeling when he moved in. And given the fact that apart from some washing-up (although he never does things like the pans or baking trays smiley - grr), one bit of hoovering or gardening he's done naff-all in the way of chores, I feel a bit like I've been unpaid cleaner, too smiley - erm.

Fortunately, though, we're off to Canada on our own smiley - biggrin - a real holiday from everything here which is good, as I'm sick of everything! I just hope I don't come back and instantly wind back up to this level again.

Oh well, not long to go...

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Latest reply: May 11, 2006

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