Accountability Wednesdays: Week 21

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First, a bit of randomness on this particular Wednesday. Have you ever had to take a drug test for any reason? I’m up to my third test because it’s a requirement for most companies on the Alberta oil sands before you’re allowed to go out on their sites. For the majority, the work camps that employees live on during their shift are “dry and drug-free”, meaning that if you’re caught drinking or taking recreational drugs, you’re booted out. In a lot of cases you’re blacklisted by the company who owns the site and you can never work on one of their sites again. So, yeah…ensuring that you’re not a drunk or a druggie is a bit of a big deal.

So anyway, I went for one of these drug tests recently because I’ve been offered a new position starting in June. This particular test was at a different location than the ones I’d been to previously, and one of the first things the lady in charge asked me was to lift up my pant legs so that she could see I didn’t have anything hidden there. After showing her that I didn’t have any smuggled samples and having a bit of a chuckle, I asked her if she got a lot of people trying to cheat the system. She told me that I’d be depressed if I knew just how often that happens. She said that sometimes people actually show up to the test loaded drunk. Other times she’s had people come in with big bottles (filled with other peoples’ urine, remember) bulging through their pant leg and have argued her down to the ground that there was nothing there. More than once she’s had to call the cops on someone who assaulted her because she wouldn’t let them take the test with their – very obviously right there under your pants – illegal sample on them.

I had to share because of the sheer absurdity of it. I can’t fathom, for the life of me, walking into a drug testing facility and signing a bunch of legal documents swearing, upon legal retribution, that the sample you’re providing is your own, and then being surprised when the tester asks you to prove that you don’t have anything on you before you take the test. It just…flummoxes me. o.O

And with that said, shall we move on to the accountability portion of the post?

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

Finally – finally – I have something to report for this one. I’m so proud.

Early Sunday morning, despite the fact that we were experiencing that gross misty rain (you know the stuff that is hardly even rain, but more like a thin mist, and you get totally soaked from standing in it for ten seconds?), I dragged myself out of bed, took a hit of my inhaler, and went for a run. I say run…it was mostly walking, but still. I started from scratch with the Zombies! Run program, and I’m glad I went right back to the beginning…I’m so out of shape that even the 15 second running intervals had me panting. But the point is that I did it! I got up, went outside, and went for a “run”!

Even better, the following day I did about forty minutes of strength training, and the day after that I did another Zombies! run. Today, sometime after you’ve already read this post, I’ll be doing another round of strength training. Rinse, repeat!

I will say that I feel really good. Exercise does genuinely make me feel good about myself, it’s just hard to convince myself of that fact when I’m feeling lazy or have a thousand other things that need doing.

The food-related side of the story is a little less impressive. I’ve been trying to drink more water than anything else, but it’s difficult because I hate water. Exercise always makes me crave things like fruit and protein, so that helps, but often a few hours later I find myself dying for sugar. One step at a time, though, right? 🙂

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my “author platform”.

Things have been a little slow here, to be honest. I can’t say that I’ve been particularly bad on the social media front, just not necessarily as good as I could be. I still find it hard to think of anything worth saying on Twitter, though I have been spending a fair bit of time conversing with my fellow bloggers, so that’s good.

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

I said I’d get something done on this last week, and for once I actually told the truth. It’s difficult to find the necessary quiet time in order to concentrate on what I’m doing, but this week I managed to go through and sign off on two chapters. Those chapters are 100% done and will not be changed any more in any way. So now I’ve got to do the same thing for fourteen more chapters. Hopefully I can pick it up a little more this week.

On a related note, has anyone here ever used Scrivener to compile a manuscript into a Kindle file? I’ve been playing with it and I’m having the worst time. I got it to actually do the compile, but the file I wound up with had enormous text so that there was maybe one sentence on each page. I have no idea why it’s doing it because everything compiles properly when I use other formats, such as PDF. Anyone? Help a fellow indie writer out?

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

I’ve fallen off the wagon a little here, but all in all it was still a half-decent week. I’ve been trying to schedule a bunch of blog posts in advance because of the aforementioned job offer, and between that and a little bit of random journaling I managed to end up with 6809 words for the week. One thing that I noticed when examining the little spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my words is that I have written no original fiction yet this year. I did a little bit of work on my Final Fantasy novelization, but I don’t consider that to be original fiction, for obvious reasons. This distresses me a bit. I do have the defense of trying to get one manuscript in publishable form, but it bothers me that I’m almost five months into the year and haven’t written a single new thing. I’m really dying to get to work on the fantasy series, and I think that once I get on that it will really boost my word count. So, fingers crossed, I guess. 🙂

Fun times!

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8 thoughts on “Accountability Wednesdays: Week 21

  1. Call me naïve, but I did not know that drug testing was a requirement in Canada. As for the cheaters… Guess you could call them naïve, too. Sheesh.
    Yay for the running part!

    • It’s not necessarily a requirement, but with the oil sands you’re living in a work camp (that your company is paying for) while you’re on your shift, so to those ends they get to make a few decisions on your behalf. One of those decisions, for many companies, is that there will be no alcohol or drugs on the site (because, obviously, they don’t want you working on major equipment while drunk or high). To those ends most companies will have you tested before they will ever agree to fly you out there because if you can’t even pass a simple drug test chances are that you’re not going to follow the rules once you’re on the site.

      But yeah…the cheaters…pretty naive. lol

        • That sounds pretty interesting! You never know, you might end up in the diamond mines up north. 🙂

          Myself, I’m an instrumentation tech (which, if you don’t know, is like an electrician but with air pressure instead of electricity, and valves and transmitters instead of motors and the like). In recent years I got more into the DCS side of things, which is basically the programming that makes everything run. For this job I’ll be on the DCS, and the way it’ll work is that the guys in the field will go out to an instrument (say, a valve), then call into me and I’ll bring that instrument up on the screen. They’ll do things like pull wires to see if I get the alarms on my computer, and I’ll do things like send command signals so that they can see the valve move. Together we decide if the instrument is set up properly as per the engineering diagrams. 🙂

          • You job sounds like the kind of work that my course would prepare me for – “Mining Engineering Technology Program” via Haileybury School of Mines. I’m closer to retirement than starting a new career, but my situation landed me here in school, so there you go. My husband works for Noront – they’ve got the chromite and nickel/pallaidum concern up in the James Bay lowlands aka Ring of Fire. I might end up working for them – if they ever get a road, that is.

            • Noront sounds familiar…I want to say that I know someone there, but I can’t think of who it might be. :\

              But yeah, it’s probably pretty similar. My program was “instrumentation and controls/electrical engineering”, which is just more broad probably, whereas yours is focusing in on a specific type of technology.

  2. Looks like you’re on track. Keep it up! You can do it, no problem. 🙂 I need to get back out and jogging before the heat kills the opportunity.

    I’ve never had to take a drug test. I think I must just be lucky… O.o

    • You’re definitely lucky. lol It’s not a big deal really, but it can be annoying if, like me, you live nowhere near a drug testing facility. Every time I have to do one it’s a 3-hour round trip just to pee in a cup. >.>

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