Gear you’ll need to work in Construction

So you got a job in the construction industry…

The first question your employer will ask is: “Do you have PPE?”

Your answer is “YES.”

He or she will then give you a run down of the PPE required for the job and on the specific site you’ll be working on. Some employers provide PPE for their employees as well.

What is PPE? Personal protective equipment. These are the safety requirements set out by the construction company and site you’ll be working on. These are things you’ll need to purchase before starting work if your employer does not provide PPE: hard hat, steel toe boots and high visibility clothing (high viz). Extras you may find helpful, but may not necessarily need or want: heavy duty working gloves, protective goggles, ear plugs, and a sun brim to attach to your hard hat (highly recommended for traffic controllers!). If you’re starting as a formworker, or other specific trade, you’ll probably need to purchase your own tools (hammers, levels etc.).

Most all your gear, including your hard hat, can be purchased from a hardware store close by. To name a few, there’s Bunnings, Home Hardware and Masters. Search for a location in your neighbourhood. For steel toe boots I would highly recommend skipping Big W and Kmart and going for a good quality pair that will last you a while. You’ll likely be on your feet all day so having a strong, sturdy pair that will protect you is a worthy investment. The site you’ll be working on may also require, that for safety reasons, you only wear lace-up boots, so ask your employer before purchasing.

For high viz clothing (and boots), do a simple Google search for ‘workwear’ in your area. Totally Workwear has multiple locations across Australia with good clothing brands like KingGee. You can get by with high viz from Big W or Kmart as well. For those in Sydney, there’s a stall in Paddy’s Markets (Haymarket) that sells high viz at a good price. They also happen to have a full range of high viz for women which can be helpful. Paddy’s Markets close between 5pm-6pm, and are also closed Mondays and Tuesdays, so make sure you make the trip out on the appropriate day.

Now that you’re suited up, you’re ready to go!

Is there another industry of work in Australia you’d like learn to break into? Let me know below!

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1 week/$100 (Day 1)

The Challenge?

Flight was awesome. Flew from Toronto to San Francisco to Sydney. The stopover in San Fran was only 45 minutes. The hop-off-hop-on connection made it feel like I flew 18 hours straight (approx.) from home to Oz. Quick and dirty.

While flying I was thinking of a way to get to my flat without paying for a cab. Cab fare from SYD would cost me around $35. Taking the Airport Link Train would cost me $15 but would only get me to Town Hall. I wouldn’t be able to carry my 2 packs the rest of the way by foot. Decided I’d figure it out when I got there.

Ready for take-off.
Ready for take-off.

Turned out United Airlines left my larger pack in San Fran. Baggage claim services assured me it’d be delivered (free of charge) to my flat the following day. Worked out PERFECT! I grabbed the Airport Link into the city for $15 and walked the rest of the way. I had another pair of pants and a tee in my small pack anyway. Plus I got $100 compensation from my Capitol One Aspire MasterCard under the included baggage delay insurance. All worked out. (TIP: A lot of private companies offer shuttle services to and from the airport for the same price. Give it a Google). 

***

Arrived back in Sydney on the bloody hottest day ever… over 43 degrees (C).  Hung out with my roomies, caught up with an old flame, took a couple of melatonin tablets and went off to bed. Snoozed.

***

Weather cooled since yesterday. For no apparent reason whatsoever this has to be my favourite day in Sydney to record. Over Xmas I decided I’d come back here, look for farm work somewhere in southern Australia to get my second year visa, then settle again and work… EFF THAT.

At THIS moment… I feel one year in Oz will satisfy me. Things could change (UPDATE: I want to stay longer). Right now I’m living at my old flat rent-free hoping my former landlord doesn’t hop in to catch me frying eggs in my PJs: “fancy seeing you here Canadia.” Might be a tad uncomfortable considering I have yet to hand back my key (forgot to before leaving in December). Opps!

My plans now? Possibly stay in Sydney for a bit… rent-free. How? Couch surf, work in a hostel or stay with O (my old boss). Before leaving for home she mentioned I could crash at her place if I needed a bed. Sweet. Plus my friend from the Philippines is looking for a flat so maybe I could crash there. Plenty of options.

Plans for the next week are to remain in tourist-mode until I’ve had my fill. Screw finding work, screw finding a new flat, screw pricey bonds. I love travelling and my closest friends know me to be a wanderer … might as well.

*** 

Today’s weather reminds me of springtime in Niagara Falls, ON. Cool and breezy… lovely. Tonight I’ll look up a few free things to do—or things that are going on in Sydney. Right now is Sydney’s festival time so there’s loads of things to look out for. Just winging it and keepin’ it simple.

Also going to keep up with my IWTK posts. I can feel it will lead to something great in the long run… looking forward to it. 🙂

*** 

Sitting in the Westfield food court. Grabbed some Guzman Y Gomez. Beef burrito bowl with guacamole… yummmmm. Grab a loyalty card if you’re a Mexican food fiend like myself.

A man and woman are sitting to my left. They’re colleagues. Actually… she’s his boss, and she’s politely bit*hing to him about his less than mediocre sales as of late.

To my right are a group of middle-aged Asian women who just ordered gelato from the Italian café behind us. They are looooving it. Just shared a few laughs with them and took a few pics of them with their waffle cones. They just called themselves ‘ice-cream addicts.’ Enjoying life.

Boss woman to my left just gave her employee some sage advice: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.

Time for a post-meal read. Today’s feature: Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. Highly recommended.

***

Almost 9PM. Sitting at Darling Harbour on a beautiful night. Live music playing in the background and a giant rubber duck floating by the dock. No idea why… possibly part of what’s going on with the Sydney Festival. The kids are looooving it. Really makes me want to buy a bow and arrow, shoot the rubber ducky and watch it slowly deflate as the kids wail in the background. I’m evil. 

Darling Harbour, Sydney
Darling Harbour, Sydney

Time to head home, make some din, then off to bed.

Track of the Day:

DRAGONETTE-Live in This City

Coin:

Lunch  – $12

Groceries (dozen eggs, baked beans) – $6.23

TODAY’S TOTAL: $18.23

WEEK’S TOTAL: $18.23

NAB account, Aussie phone no., free WiFi and supermarkets

Today I opened a chequing account (transaction account) with the National Australian Bank (NAB). The branch is just a 5 min walk from the hostel and right across the street from Market City and Paddy’s (a flea market and large fruit market). The bank teller was most helpful and made opening the account a breeze. Gave him my ID (passport, license etc.) and I was set. I was told to pick up the bank card from the branch in 7 days. Your transaction account will automatically get you an attached savings account. The one I opened has an interest rate of 5%! The teller told me that rate’s an all-time low for Australia… usually it’s around 6.2%!

Ohhhh, my cell phone. So I arrived in Oz thinking that my cell phone was already unlocked. Negative. I bought a SIM for $2 and loaded it with $20 from Vodafone. They have stores located all over and their customer service is awesome. They also have a large branch right in Syndey’s Botany airport. Great for anyone who wanted to get that taken care of upon landing. You could also buy the SIM cards from any convenience store… they all sell them. I bought mine from a close by 7/11. The SIM comes with an instruction booklet that leads you through the simple registration process where you’re given a new number and PINs. And that’s when I found out my phone was locked. I threw in the new SIM and my phone prompted me to enter an unlock code… womp womp. I went to Market City and found a stand called ANT where they unlocked it for $40.

All McDonald’s locations (and many little coffee shops) have free WiFi… awesome considering the $3/hr I’d been paying to use the internet at the hostel. I Skyped with the fam for the first day today. It was hilarious! My parents have a tiny netbook with a built in camera, and somehow they managed to get all of them to fit their faces into the small screen… all of them (mom, pop, brother, grandmother, uncle). My 85-year old grandmother was amazed… she didn’t believe such technology existed. Hilarious. The people sitting around and behind me seemed to enjoy the entertaining conversation.

I’m pretty sure I walked around the same 3 streets—up and down—a good 5 times each. By the time I found Paddy’s it was closed. Mondays? Closed? Really? Means I’ll be getting some groceries bright and early tomorrow. (UPDATE: Mondays and Tuesdays!)

I’ve also been looking into a few low cost tours and interesting places to walk around. So far there are a few vintage stores I’m planning on checking out in Surry Hills, as well as taking a trip to Bondi Beach. An American sitting next to me on my flight to Denver mentioned there’s an awesome restaurant there called Iceberg’s, or something close to that name.

Do you guys know of any unique or random places I shouldn’t dare pass up? Let me know! 🙂

Checking in baggage and… the law of attraction?

I reeeeeeally wanted to take my MEC pack with me to Oz. I had all my clothes vacuum-packed and tried my best to stuff the bag the most efficient way possible. It turned into an extremely frustrating life-size game of tetris… but I really tried. My pack was brimming. I tried it on… I can do this! Turned out the only way to safely carry the pack was to go at it strategically: place pack on a 45 degree angle along the bed, slide my arms through, roll over to my side and stand up… mission.

I bit the bullet and went for the trusty Samsonite (Sam). My mom was also proud to see that she was right… the pack just wasn’t cutting it. So I transferred everything from the pack to Sam, sat on it, zipped it up and headed for the airport with my mom and good neighbour. We made bets on the way there to see how much Sam would weigh… it was heavy.

When I was checking-in my luggage, the United attendant informed me that it was 10 pounds overweight. He suggested I take some things out and throw them in my small backpack (my carry on). I declined… no room and too much of a hassle. The attendant said he’d see what he could do.

He looked into my flight and noticed that there were upgrades available (for first class), and that the upgrade would cost less than the price I’d have to pay for obese Sam. First class ticket holders were also allowed to check in more luggage of inflated weights meaning my luggage would clear!

So although I still had to pay a few extra bucks, it saved me from paying full price and I got bumped into first class! The deal didn’t grant me first class all the way to Sydney (that would’ve been sweet), but it did for my 2 connecting flights from Toronto to Denver, and Denver to San Fran.

And funny thing… a week ago I was thinking to myself that it would be nice to somehow catch a ride in first class! Woot! Mission accomplished.

I’m currently waiting in a nice deli in the San Francisco airport waiting for my last flight of the day to Sydney. Here we go!

Packing, credit cards and the cheapest DIY teeth whitener

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my last week at work. Busy, busy, busy. Aside from the hustle and bustle of distributing my workload to my fellow reporters, I’m looking forward to the Wednesday ‘Bon Voyage’ lunch at Moxies my department planned for me. Always great to be able to take a break from the ol’ cubicles. 🙂

I’m slowly starting to pack (meaning day-dreaming about it) and been considering a few efficient options. I’ll be bringing my pack with me, along with a backpack and a few purses. I’m considering buying travel Space Bags. They don’t require a vacuum to suck the air out and it could save some much needed space (reviews are mostly positive). I was also thinking of bringing a mini wheeled luggage for my shoes… yes. 🙂

This week I received 2 credit cards in the mail that I’ll be bringing with me: the MNBA Smart Cash WorldPoints card, and the Capitol One Aspire Travel World MasterCard. The MNBA has no annual fee, and you get 5% cash back on gas/groceries for the first 6 months and 3% thereafter. You’ll also make 1% cash back on all other purchasing made with the card. If you’re interested in applying for the MNBA, do it through GreatCanadianRebates.ca. They’ll give you a $60 rebate upon approval. The Capitol One has an annual fee of $120 (womp womp) but gives you a bonus of 35 000 points after your first purchase (equivalent to a free cheap flight)! This card also provides emergency medical (up to 22 days), trip cancellation, baggage loss and more.

How is a cheap DIY teeth whitener relevant to this blog? It’s not. But I am a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding (this coming Saturday) and having pearly whites in photos is something that to me seems vital… so I thought I’d share. This ‘whitening’ recipe is cake! You’ll love it.

Buy it

Baking soda… standard Arm & Hammer’s fine.

35% food grade hydrogen peroxide… DO NOT buy any hydrogen peroxide. You can find this at your nearest health-food or supplement shop.

Dilute it

In a separate bottle pour 1 oz. of hydrogen peroxide and 11 oz. water… label the bottle ‘diluted hydrogen peroxide.’ You can store the full strength bottle of peroxide somewhere in your pantry. You’ll be using the diluted mixture every time you whiten your teeth.

Mix it

2 tablespoons baking soda, 1 tablespoon diluted hydrogen peroxide… always add the diluted peroxide to the baking soda, not the other way around. Start with 1 tablespoon of diluted peroxide, mix, and slowly add more drops until the mixture forms the consistency of a paste.

Brush it

Brush your teeth with the mixture for 2 mins… keep the mixture from touching your gums as much as possible (may burn for those with sensitive gums). Also, don’t swallow the mixture. 🙂

Rinse… after 2 mins, rinse your mouth by brushing and gargling with water. It is extremely important that you rinse until there’s no taste or trace of the mixture in your mouth. Rinse ‘til you’re blue in the face.

Dump it

Clean up… you can throw out the remaining mixture left over and you’re done!

Not only is this cheap, but it has less ingredients and whitens your teeth FAST. The 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide will assure that you won’t be ingesting anything harmful (it’s often used as a fruit/vege cleaner).

Travelling gear

My plans are to travel all over Australia, as well as hit some of the neighbouring countries (depending on how far my coin will let me). So I decided my best option would be to bring a large pack with me instead of the trusty… Swim? Swammi? Slippy? Slappy? Swenson? Swanson? Samsonite! I was way off! I knew it started with an S, though.

If you’re looking for a good quality pack, skip the trendy packs you’ll find at stores like Sail or Sporting Life. Although you may be able to snag one at a fair price for under $200 on clearance, your best bet would be to head to Mountain Equipment Co-op. They have locations all across Canada and will get you the best price while upholding the utmost quality.

Don’t forget to check out Kijiji, Craigslist or eBay… I found a MEC Brio 60 Backpack for $40 in practically new condition!

As for any other gear, I think I’m set. Unless I was planning on doing a trek of some sort, my pack and laptop seem to be all I’ll need… for now.