Our New Normal

For the past year, Vanessa and I have spent our days working on the house and gardens.  We managed to purchase our home last November and since then we’ve worked side-by-side renovating and restoring our home and tending our vegetables.

Now for the last couple of weeks, we’ve settled into our new jobs on the island.  As I last wrote, I started a new job as a mussel grader in the town of Borden, about twenty minutes from the house.  However my career as a mussel grader only lasted about two hours.  After our first shift, my career path took a slight right-turn into the packing/icing/shipping area.

As mussel grading is probably the most mundane job imaginable, I had no objection to this slight detour.  I’m quite serious.  Trying to be clever, I was going to compare it to other boring jobs, but frankly I couldn’t come up with anything.  Basically, when grading mussels, you stand in front of a conveyor belt as hundreds of the little blue-shelled molluscs pass by – and your objective is to remove any dead or broken ones, and of course, anything that’s not actually a mussel.  That’s it.  All day.  Every day.

Thankfully, the company recognized one of my strengths right away – my strength.  We produce, on average, 20-30 thousand pounds of mussels per day.  Once bagged, the mussels are boxed, iced, packed and shipped daily.  That’s my role.

So what about Vanessa?  Since I was moved from the position I was hired for – mussel grader – I suggested Vanessa send her resume in to fill the position left from my departure.  She was hired over the phone within the week.  Her career as a mussel grader lasted a full day and was a little more eventful.

Although mundane, the mussels whizzing by your face from left to right, hour after hour can be problematic to those who suffer from motion sickness.  Like Vanessa.

After a day of running to the washroom, the supervisor promoted her to one of the bagging machines – a complicated computer-controlled beast from Europe.  I think it intimidates most of the workers there.  Vanessa took to it in no time – so that’s her new role.

So our new-normal isn’t all that different.  After a year of working side-by-side on the house and gardens, we find ourselves literally shoulder-to-shoulder at our “paying” job – she’s bagging, I’m boxing.  Our non-paying job continues to be the house renovations – which are still progressing, but thankfully, the income now affords us to resume the renovations.  The weekend weather looks like it will confine us to inside work so insulation and vapour barrier is on the agenda.  Last week we got the chicken coop insulated – so the girls are ready for winter now, too.

Now, if we can just teach ourselves to actually like mussels….

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5 thoughts on “Our New Normal

  1. That’s hilarious that you don’t like mussels – probably makes you valuable employees, come to think of it. How great that you work in the same place – makes the commute thing so much easier, if one can even use the word “commute” about travel on PEI…

  2. So much for trying to like mussels after handling them all day:) Don’t think I could even look at one. Enjoy your work on the house this weekend!!

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