How to Confuse a Bank Teller

It’s fun! It’s easy! Let’s play!

1. Pick a bank with branches in your city. Open an account in your native currency. Let’s say, oh, Canadian funds.

2. Write. Sell writing.

3. Receive payments by cheque, in foreign currencies and from foreign lands.
3b. Bonus points if they’re also written in a foreign language.

4. Take said cheques to your bank.

5. Stand in line behind a man who coincidentally has the same uncommon type of account as you do. Wait while he asks the teller to perform an intricate and complicated dance routine of withdrawals and deposits all to that one rare account. Pray quietly that the voice box of the customer complaining loudly at the next wicket will magically snap in two, rendering her silent and the bank much more peaceful. Wait until the teller manning your line’s wicket is thoroughly flustered and unable to concentrate.

6. This is the step that makes it or breaks it, folks! Hand the teller your bank card. Hand the teller your cheques (in Euros! With commas instead of decimals! Ho-ho, what fun!). Ask politely to deposit these cheques into this account.

7. Watch her struggle with the currency conversion. Agree that no, the comma is not our country’s common delineating punctuation w/r/t which is the dollar and which is the cent. Yes, how very strange indeed.

8. The game is almost complete, wait for it…

9. Sign the deposit slip, noting nothing amiss, since no one in their right mind memorizes their account numbers and since deposit slips show only amount deposited and not total balance, and…

10. You did it! You won! Through no doing of your own, and after having signed your acknowledgement of the deposit of said funds into said account, watch in delight as the teller realizes she SOMEHOW PUT YOUR CHEQUES INTO THAT LAST CUSTOMER’S ACCOUNT! Whoo! Exhilarating!

You’ve won! You’ve confused the teller! You have to share the points with the other customers since, let’s be honest, the game would have been lost without them, but between the three of you you played a good game out there. Keep your chin up, kid, it’ll only take another ten minutes to straighten out. And sure, you’ll lose another smidgen of your somewhat depleted trust in the banking system, but hey! Everything’s fun if you play the game right.

This Week in Sniderville: 8

I came here to update about what I did this week, then realized: I didn’t do anything.

I mean, I went to DayJob, I came home drained from DayJob, I camped out on the couch in front of Netflix and I just sat, like a zombie, and not a cool gore-covered-horror-zombie, but a half-asleep vegetative zombie in coffee-stained corporate clothes.

It’s times like this that I remember: this is not who I was cut out to be. I’m not the corporate type — I don’t find fulfillment under fluorescent lights. I don’t find joy in obtuse lingo, or pleasure in progress reports. I’m not big on meetings or memos on company letterhead.

I don’t want the carrot.

I’m not unique: I’m sure most of us probably don’t really dig working for The Man. I’m not trying to paint myself as special. I just find it frustrating, to be so completely in love with writing, and then for something that I… don’t love (is that PC enough?) to use up so much of my energy. It’s exactly like that Onion article: the thing I want to do most in life is being hindered by the thing I like doing least.

I have a plan in place for working at home, as a full-time writer. It’s something that could happen in the next few years. I just have to push through this slump, to not let office politics wear me out before I can make the rest of my life happen.

I wish I had something more interesting or lighthearted to write about this week, instead of a whiny tantrum. But honestly? Sniderville posts are for recapping the week, and this week was pretty much a write-off.

Sorry, dudes.

Here’s to a better week, next week.

Why I Won’t Knit for Free

Lately I’ve been taking my knitting along to work with me. You know me and my fidgety fingers: if there’s spare time to be had, I’m using it.

I’ve sold some of my knitting in the past to coworkers and friends-of-friends. I knit for free for family, of course, but even then, depending on the project, I’ve been known not to get around to it for a really. Long. Time. I’m working on this blanket for my husband…at this point he’s wanted a blanket for three years.


One of my coworkers asked if I’d ever auctioned off any of my knitting. Oh no, I thought, here it comes.

“…because my nephew’s hockey team is looking for items to auction off…one lady’s mittens sold for sixty dollars!”

I never really know what to say in these situations. I’m not great at saying no. So what came out was something like, “No, I don’t knit unless it benefits me. Sorry,” which, while true, came out wrong and totally makes me sound like a bitch. Here’s what I meant:

I won’t knit for you for free because:

1. Knitting takes time. This is listed first for a reason. My time is valuable to me. I like to spend it in ways I enjoy, which, when it comes to (free) knitting, means at my own leisure and on projects of my choosing. Believe it or not, even someone speedy like The Yarn Harlot can take 16 hours or more to knit a single pair of socks. I can do a lot of other things in 16 hours.

2. Knitting costs money. True, I have the needles already. But if I’m making your project for free, I’ll need to supply yarn. I’ll either need to give up some of my stash, which cost me money, or go purchase new yarn, which will cost me money. Either way, I’d be paying to do you a favour. Not happening.

3. No one works for free. Do you know how much money those mittens would “cost”, in real-life terms, if I charged by the hour? Do you realize that I’d have to give up other things in my life to make the time to knit for you? Would you come over and make me 16 free dinners? Or wash 16 loads of my laundry for me? Why not?

4. It’s my hobby, and therefore it needs to benefit me. When I knit for myself, this is a no-brainer. I get to use the end product: wear the sweater, use the gloves to keep warm, revel in the luxury of perfectly-fitted socks. When I knit for family, in ways that’s even better: I take time to pick just the right project, and colour, and yarn. I sit and smile to myself, imagining the recipient enjoying whatever it is that I’m making. It makes me no money, but it’s incredibly rewarding. If I donate my knitting to a charity — which someday I’d like to — I’ll still feel the warmth of knowing I’ve kept a preemie’s head warm, or gotten a handmade bear to a child with cancer, or whatever.

When I’ve knit for paying customers, that glowing feeling is replaced with cold, hard cash. Still beneficial.

If I give you something to auction for a league sport, neither of these things happens. You could just as easily sell chocolate bars.

5. I plain don’t feel like it right now, which means forcing myself would make it feel like work, and we’ve established I don’t work for free.

This isn’t the first time this has come up since I taught myself to knit. It’s kind of strange, if you think about it: asking someone (oftentimes a mere acquaintance) to give up hours and hours of their time and some of their money, as if it’s something you’re entitled to. Sure, I enjoy my knitting, but I bet there’s lots of mechanics who enjoy their work, and I don’t see them giving away free engine overhauls.

F-O-C-U-S Spells…Ah, Fuck It.

I’m in one hell of a slump.

I don’t know if it’s the general blue feeling I’ve been experiencing lately, or my propensity to take on WAY more than I can actually handle, but…I’m frozen. I feel like I can’t get anything done. I have a million projects on the go, and rather than focusing on one at a time and seeing it through to completion, I find myself dancing around sticking my fingers into all of them and finishing nothing.

I like to think I’m driven. I like to think I can master this whole discipline thing. But frankly, discipline isn’t all that much fun. It’s easier to waste time on the internet. It’s easier to wait until the perfect moment comes along. It’s easier to blame my lack of productivity on those absent douchebag Muses (who, by the way, are not getting the raise they requested).

But really? It’s me. Of course it is. I’m the one finding excuses. I’m the one wasting time on things that don’t matter. I feel scattered and overwhelmed right now and I’m having a hard time digging myself out of this hole. (Yes, I know I’m being whiny. And yes, I know I don’t have patience for whiners. But I’m not perfect, and it is what it is.)

I know, in my heart of hearts, that the only thing that will fix this is — you guessed it — focus. I need to pick the one thing that’s more important than all those other things and pummel it until it cracks and something wonderful falls out.

Now if I could only figure out what that thing is…

The Ragweed is Eating My Brain

image credit

I love Fall. I really, really do. But somehow each year I manage to forget that this is the time of my nemesis.

Look at them. Those little pollen…fucks. See how pointy they are?

That’s about how they feel as they embed themselves in my nasal cavities. Microscopic little shards of misery and suffering. I’m pretty sure that when I inhale they burrow deep into my brainmeats, where they send up a collective cheer that their Godless mission has been accomplished. They’re in there right now, high-fiving each other.

It’s probably a bad idea to jam sharp implements up there. I must resist. Instead I will gorge on antihistamines, pray for colder weather, and curse ragweed’s very existence from the depths of my blackened heart.

Moments in Writing: It’s So Easy to Write a Novel

I was talking to a couple of acquaintances, one of whom is in the process of building a house. Let’s call her…oh hell, it’s late. We’ll call her A. A was exhausted and still had months of work to put in before the house would be complete. Exhausted, she flopped down at the table and sighed. The other one…Z…asked what was the matter.

“Oh, I just have so much work to do. The whole house still needs to be painted.” A’s eyes lit up and she addressed the both of us. “You wanna come paint this weekend?”

I blurted out “No!“, then explained that I had scheduled some novel-writing time that weekend. (Also? There is no chance in hell I’m painting your house.)

She grinned and offered to trade, then said, “Don’t worry, I’m kidding. I can’t write.”

Z jumps in: “But writing a novel would be way easier.”

Wait, what?

“A has to paint the whole house. That would take way longer.”

I sputtered and had nothing to say, which if you know me says a lot. It’s faster to write a novel? Really? Then what the hell is my problem?

For The Millionth Time: We Are Not Having Kids

I don’t see why it’s so difficult for people to understand. We’re not having kids. Period.

If you have kids, that’s great. Honestly. I know tone doesn’t always translate well on the internet, and for that I’m sorry, but believe me when I say that if you’ve always wanted children, you should have them. Enjoy them.

I’m not anti-kid. I have two nephews that I love like crazy, and any future nieces and nephews will also be welcomed with open arms and spoiled rotten. But enjoying kids is not the same as wanting your own.

I know most people mean well. They cherish their own kids, and find fulfillment and purpose in raising them. It saddens them that I’m “missing out”. I appreciate the concern.

Where it gets frustrating is when a simple “nope, not for us” goes unheeded. I’m a woman in my thirties. I’ve had lots and lots of time to think this over, and being female I’ve had lots of heavy encouragement to jump on the parent-wagon. I’ve been in a straight relationship for years; it’s not like we couldn’t have tried for kids, had we wanted them. The simple fact is that we’ve made our decision, and prodding us is irritating, not influential.

Flip it for a second: what would it be like if, instead of congratulating you on your pregnancy, I raised an eyebrow and said, “But what if you change your mind?”

I realize parenting is hard work. I know that parents make sacrifices in order to give the best to their children. If bowing out makes me selfish, then so be it. But my life, our life together, is just plain built differently. We have different goals and ambitions, and enjoy spending our time differently. We have different expectations for the future. We find satisfaction and contentment in other places.

If I wouldn’t force my life on you, why force yours on me?