Family Christmas

Ah Christmas time!
Nothing comes close to the warmth of family.
Not a nuclear blast, not a supernovae, not the glow from the Channel 1 yule log, no; only family emit that thermal heat we love so well.

As I sit facebooking, the replicant mutters about webcams, the evil twin bellows rules to the father who is shamelessly cheating at cards... or was that the other way around, and the dogs sniff about looking for any leftovers.

Bring on the New Year.


A Left Coast Christmas Wish ♥ ♥

What a week we have had! What a whorl whirl world! Only the weather could displace the economy as the major news story. From coast to coast to coast, Canada is a wild wet white wonderland.

Speaking from the left coast - I love the idea of a white Christmas. I am not so sure about the weeks before and after. The snow removal budget in our Village is infintismal. The crews not at the top of their game. How do I know this latter fact? The transmissions of three snow removal graters blew during the first clearings. One is bad luck. Two is remarkable. Three points to something else.

My week started at being snowed in at home and ended with being snowed in at work. Luckily for me, the wonderful management of job #2 allowed me to sleep overnight where job #1 could be accomodated by walking my route. This only worked one day. The next was today.

I am always more than willing to do my share and your share too of the workload if it makes things run smoothly. I will go most places and do most things if I can. Alas I am not driving a Van Truck or 4x4, I am driving a GM with all seasons on it. Every year this has sufficed. Not this time. It was impossible to negotiate the side streets where two addresses on my list were. I got stuck, got pushed out by wonderful strangers and drove in vain slowly along nearby main street looking for a parking spot. It was not to be.

At the base of a hill another client. I had double checked with my office to make sure it was possible to get in there. I was asked to park at the top of the hill and hike down. I was assured that everyone else got in there. I did my duty and hiked down. The driveway was not ploughed. The stairs were not shovelled. The door was not answered. I hiked to the back door. No answer. I walked around the place in 3 foot snow jumping up and knocking on the windows. Nothing. I looked under every brick and patio ornament, every bin and rock for a key. Nope.

Did I have my phone? I had left it in the car. At the top of the hill.
When I called the Office I was assured again there was a key and other people had gotten in. Back down the hill, back to looking for the stated key hiding spot. No key, no answer at the door, no success. Back up the hill. This visit is scheduled for 45 minutes and I was now at the 50 minutes mark.

Back in the car, I headed for my next visit and once there called my Supervisor to give the facts. Now in my head I was expecting her to follow up on it as I had more people to see. Instead I heard her tell me the name and phone # of a contact who lived next door and then she said: " See if he can help you get in and call back if you have a problem getting in." I guess she missed the part where I said I had left the area and was at my next client. I get paid by the assignment - my Supervisor makes a much higher salary. It is not my job to do follow up as I have more people waiting on me. I called the contact number, wished him a Merry Christmas, and explained that we could not get his neighbour to answer her door and could he look in on her and call our office if there was a problem or if he could not get in. He was very agreeable and wished me well in turn.

Perhaps I am a teensy bit prickly on this topic. It could possibly be because in job 2 I came across a frightenend co-worker who had been urgently paging this self same supervisor to advise her that the roads were impassable and that she could not finish her shift. Her shift that would take her out to rural roads, an address at the end of the road at 10pm. There are family on the property who will not risk life and limb to do a check in. This co-worker was terrified to go and more terrified not to. Having got my seniority in that exact same shift I know exactly where she was off to.

The supervisor never returned those multiple pages. But I got my coworked to call the clients to advise them that it was unsafe for her to risk the trip and she could not come. That, again, would be the supervisors job. Oh she would have gone if I had not told her repeatedly that we have the right to refuse unsafe work. And indeed last year another coworker who went out to be helpful in the ice to a client in a remote area, had her workers compensation claim denied as she "had untaken unnecessary risk where not indicated." The rules bite you coming and going.

Yes, I am happy to go more than my share, but please send me somewhere I can get in. Those who do not shovel their drives or live on unploughed streets will not be seeing me. Please God send us cleared roads for Christmas. Snow alert for the 24th. - - -


Proof of Dragons

Anytime people express doubts about the existance of dragons, point them my way.
The proof is within me. I house the pivotal DNA strands of dragonware or, dragonwere. There are wererabbits and werewolves so why not weredragons.

All the signs are here. I am capable of breathing fire, I sleep in the shadow and most telling of all, I hoard. Today whilst looking for the USB connector for my camera I found a Haida necklet my sister gave me at 12 years of age, sitting in the drawer besides the Sunday School attendance chart made by my Grampa for my mother. It is a symbol of the ties that bound the two families, so diverse in circumstance together. Grampa T. was the Sunday School superintendant of the Church mom's family were attending. Brethren, no doubt.

My father is definitly not the author of these genes. He is Mr. Clear and Clean. He is only happy when every surface is gleaming, bereft of anything resembling clutter. My mother, on the other hand, put the obsessive in OCD. She had closets of clothes in all sizes, hundreds of shoes all catalogued and sorted, every jewel ever given her in her Elisabeth Taylor mode, and money. Lots and lots of money cloistered away in shoeboxes and drawers and pockets. God only knows how much we gave to the Salvation Army before we caught on to the pockets.

It would be easy to blame a mental illness for the hoarding trait- except that Grama B, mom's mother, also hoarded. In her case it was good leather gloves. There were dozens of pairs in her drawers, all wrapped in scented tissue. She also had stashes of toiletries that never saw the bathroom shelf. They lived under the cupboards. As I was born when my Grama was 61, I saw only the residual hoards.

Now to me. Today being a snow day and me being stir crazy I decided to go through my bedroom drawers and declutter. It is almost 8pm and there is nothing in my donation box. When I find the connector cord for the camera I will take a picture of one of my drawers. The younger generation has inherited my dragon gene. If I am bad, she is worse. I console myself by reminding myself that I have always trained her to pay her own bills and live her own life. We who choose to be slightly a-typical must never rely on the kindness of strangers. Or husbands.

Like Smaug, a ray falls from my eye on the items removed. I know when my stash has been lessened. It is a strange thing this gene. Perhaps it explains more that just the shiny thing attraction.

Daughter of dragons? Daughter of daughter of.... hmm, more than just those Sinclair genes are perculating here. I wonder what ever happened to dragon spawn. Besides being burned at the stake that is.

Today in the Village!

Our likeness to a Thomas Kinkade postcard continues. The warm light shine out from beneath the snowy roofs. People wander the streets in colourful mufflers, and children frolic in the huge drifts still so pristine. Cars are few and far between. Trucks are more common.

The very nice man who dug my car out at 11pm last night was almost embarressed to take the small gratuity I was delighted to give. Afterall, how many people work those hours in the freezing cold and how many go back for a shovel when the plough alone cannot get my car out? Oh I was delighted to be able to show some appreciation. This morning when I went outside at 6am, my car had been de-snowed, and my parking spaces were completely cleaned of snow. My sidewalk as well was cleared from my door and ten feet in both directions. Now, who says these is no such thing as kindness? My neighbour, more jaded than I, asked me how much I gave him. Not enough, I replied with a smile.

Today I was unable to get to my first client without sliding dangerously, and this on the main roads. It is really only my neck of the woods that is so dangerous as we are technically on the outskirts of our fabulous resort town. The budget does not include tri-daily sanding which at this state is necessary.
All dressed in my scrubs, equipped with MRSI worthy equipment, I parked back in my perfectly ploughed parking space and came home for a nice long winter nap. Now, clearly I am not one of those who are happy to be snowbound for longer than a day or two, and so I felt the urgent need for some humanity. Across the street for a lunch of coffee, ginger ale, burger platter with sweet potato fries, and apple crisp. It was delicious.

The server was nice enough to get a newspaper for me that facilitated my lunch visit to the 90 minute mark. It was lovely.

Tonight I shall go to bed early and try HARD to will the roads less icey. Tomorrow I shall be driving UPhill in our Village where the tax dollars are spent.
If I can get up the hill all should be well. I will pack my outfit for job 2 as I cannot see myself getting home at midnite. Perhaps I shall pack 2 outfits.

Snowfall warning for Sunday. Unbelievable.


Wet, Slippery, and (sigh) Cold!

Land of sunshine and flowers. Most moderate climate in Canada. Lowest annual snowfall.... etc etc etc. Someone forgot to remind Mother Nature of these facts this December.

A week or so ago we of the Village rejoiced childlike in the beautiful snowfall showcasing our streets. Down the hill, along the waterfront where it is always warmer, icy winds heralded the unexpected guest. Old man winter came for dinner and stayed overnight. And overweek.

All season tires service my vehicle which is more sturdy than most of it's age and ilk, but definitly are NOT up to a heavy snowfall. It was a moot point in any case as my driveway had been sealed shut by a 12 foot snow wall courtesy of the highway clearing ploughs. Yes, 12 feet! It was whittled down to the 3 foot level by our own Strata hands but it took another plough to get it to the mountable level. A small footpath was the only exit from our lot for 2 days.
Snow removal is something so strange to this area that the local budget is reactionary, not presumptive. Local excavators work 24/7 in these strange times with their heavy equipment. Although we are a highway address we are no longer the MAIN highway and we are a cough away from the bypass. This may seem inconsequential however the reality makes for a lonely time these blustery days.

All week I have been saying I should take some pictures. My mood has not been the best and in protest against this strangeness, no photos have been taken from MY camera. The highlight of the week was opening my front door to four feet of snow. This is a wonder in paradise. But to have it stay unmelted for nigh on 8 days is yet more marvellous.


Birthday Brunch! Or, not!

Happy birthday to me! God bless Facebook for enabling greetings from near and far and making the day special.

The tasty brunch at the local hotspot on the water was a no go due to a sudden and unexpected heavy snowfall. I counted it a Godsend that we made it to my fathers at all. Almost no one else braved the roads, and upon arrival and cancellation of the official plans, our plan B of paying handsomely for delivery food failed absolutely. No one was foolhardy enough. And then a suggestion from the younger set: "Let's ask George! HE is coming for cake anyway."

By gosh and by golly if he didn't acquiesque. NO chocolate dipped strawberries, no 100 item brunch bar, but luncheon fare from Boston Pizza along with a tasty and delicious chocolate birthday cake from Thrifty foods saved the day.

Happy Birthday to ME!!
And God bless us all, everyone!


Paging Dr. Freud - !

Once again, I am in Vancouver and it is early morning just before sunrise. It is home I am headed for, garbed in an odd fur robe that does not cover my nakedness properly. Observing this, I try to get off the main road; possibly Oak and 14th or so but there is an obstacle. There is always an obstacle.

Impeding my path is a huge hedge that bars my way to the sidestreets. I cannot go through it as it is thick and girded with wire. Since I cannot jump it nor stumble through it I try to minimise myself under a shrub as a dark man with a possibly Jamaican accent walks his small white dog. Looking at my incredibly stupid fashion choice, I muse on the arts gala I have walked out on. Why did I walk out?

As always in such scenarios, no wisdom is gained from reflection. It makes no sense and is unlikely to morph into sensibleness through dissection. I got miffed and refused to compromise and naturally, had to leave. Since I did not have a car, I must walk home. And where is home? Why 49th and cambie of course. Therefor this must be the 80s. Since it is the 80s I must be loaded. If not why walk?

The sound assaulting my ears is "Fur Elise." I lurch up and vanish into the mists and back to my bed. Buggery dreams. If change is indicated, a variation of this dream occurs. Always I am lost or looking for home. Always my car, bus, train breaks down or I am walking hesitantly. Always I am thwarted in my journey.

--------- *

Now I am up and out the door and putting on medical stockings for those who cannot do it themselves. A few medications here, a catheter or two there and I am at the home of a very ill client where another worker awaits me. We are mystified as to how this person stays alive in a state where 99.9999% of others would be long and truly gone. A triumph of will I suppose. Soon I hope this will fades as the road from here on in is a black road. There will be no more comfort and there are no pleasant attractions. Bone on bone cracks as we position the client in the lift and transfer to the wheelchair. We do everything for this client but breathe. And it is not nearly enough.

Now I am out to the farthest arm of our area to a person in the endstages of cancer. There is no hospital bed, no transfer devices, no wheelchair but there are plenty of meds and an oxygen line that can circle the home 5 times. Another dominant spirit is residing in this client who is living every second until it is not possible. I hear that last night a tasty Galliano was enjoyed with the night dose of morphine. They look at me for a reaction.

Why the hell not? That's what I think. The worst thing that can possibly happen is that the client keels over from a drug interaction. Not a bad end considering what is the reality of their medical situation.

And so- home again ,home again where my doggie greets me royally. We walk up the hydro line and enjoy the crispness of the december day. A snack and a nap before another brief walk and I am off to the other job. It is a good life.


Drama drama Drama

and on it goes- the fall out from a meeting where one person vented an angry rant and another refused to take it.

I am the one who said: Hold the crap, thanks.

Workplace standards are usually just plain old common sense. Rules and written guidelines are for those rare instances when one employee does not recognise their behaviours as out of control. In a civilizaton we need to be civil.
A no-brainer you would think.