Favourite Books

  • The Green Mile
  • Animal Farm
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Lord of the Rings
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Comfort Zone

Those who know me, understand the past year has been difficult. I have been on my own for much of it, and our family has had to make some pretty intense decisions. Heading into my 6th decade, life is handing me a massive change, not the first, but definitely one of the hardest to attain.
  Many years ago, we moved from the trailer we purchased here to a huge home. It was awesome! Our house was one of those that was always filled with young people. I have to wonder about that, as I know I am not the easiest person to deal with, but I am very glad my children's friends have all been able to overlook my negative attitude, and felt welcome in our home. It made life busy, and full, and never ever lonely. Many mornings I would wake up to find someone asleep on my couch, the basement would have 3 more, upstairs sometimes even more. Sure some days I hated that the whole highschool had at one time or another seen me at my early morning worst, but, besides always ensuring I was fully clothed at all times, it was a good feeling that every friend of my kids knew they had a warm place to crash after a party. It also ensured that my kids would come home, and..I knew their friends would simply open the front door and go to sleep, somewhere in this huge home.
  Times have changed. Now the house is far too big. I have found a small area in it, and that is where I camp out. It doesn't even look the same! I can wander about and remember those house filled times, but, it is empty, the memories may linger in the space, but they are in my head and heart, so they will never leave. Everyone else has left. Those kids are now grown ups, and, they may not realize it, but I am proud of each and everyone of them. But once again, in my world, another generation has headed off to live their adult lives, and this time, I am left with only my dogs for company.They don't seem to care how much space they have in the house, their world is fine if they have enough outside.
 So...the change is , I have reached the place that I must move along, I am ready to go almost full circle back to where my life began. It would be an easy matter if all I had to do was pack up my clothes and personal belongings, and hit the road, but, it's not that easy.
We have this house. I call it a house now, because it is no longer a home. It is a piece of amazing property, that has brought our family a sh*tload of joy, and a million memories. Memories of Easter egg hunts with the Grandchildren, and high school graduations, and farewell parties of the most amazing friends. Not so much the house, but the property it sits on.
  The yard, well, that hasn't changed, nor will it ever, really. I imagine someone else will keep the firepit, I hope they keep my little bench that allows me serenity. I hope they don't decide to cut down the huge tree that stands plop in the middle of the back yard, filled with birds in all seasons. I know, it sucks every drop of water so no matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to grow grass around it, but, even in the middle of winter, one can enjoy a snow free spot, under the heavy canopy.
  See, I have worked very hard for the past 3 months, erasing my family from the house. Rooms that my kids made their own, have now been emptied, painted and re-floored. The kitchen has all new appliances.I don't think a single birthday dinner has been made with that oven. The counter tops are brand new..no marks from someone slicing cheese without a cutting board. Not a single mark on the new floor from something smashed from someone goofing about. There are no gobs of dog hair floating and collecting in corners, no slobber marks on the windows. The drawers are not stuffed with pimple remover, and hair products, instead they are empty.
  I have put it up for sale. Wow, talk about leaving one's comfort zone. I now have opened the door, not to my children's school mates, or my dear friends, but to total strangers. What an uncomfortable place for someone like me, who has lost the ability to socialize. How difficult to want to have someone else fall in love with something that has provided so much to my life, but...dreading the actual personal interaction.
 I did have my very first showing last night. Sent one dog off for a play date, and the other one had to deal with getting tied up, far enough away that the viewer was able to take everything the backyard offers in. I am grateful, it was way easier than I had imagined. Perhaps that is because it is easy to give a pitch for something so amazing. Oh, the first moment was awkward, but, he made it very easy, and although he is only the first, and I am not done, I am glad he was first.
  My friend has talked me into having an open house. Hey, I want to sell, so..I am open to anything that offers the opportunity for more to see what is beyond the "blue door". But I realize I am not the right person to stand there answering questions while folks I don't know wander through what has for 12 years, been my personal space. That job is for my friend and my daughter. They are both much nicer than me! Yes I could have simply hired a realtor, to do all of this, but..again, they didn't live here, this doesn't hold a single memory for them, how can they possibly sell something they have not felt? This is not just a house and a yard, this is a place for memories, and to sell, one has to speak from the heart.
  I am past the point (I think) of caring who buys, I want this whole business to be over with. I am ready to say good-bye. I have the pictures and the memories all packed up, but what I don't understand is, after the unending work, and the jobs I tackled that went way beyond what I thought was my ability, and the feeling it would never reach the finish line..why do I not feel that sense of relief? I am hoping that comes soon, because I am really very tired of erasing, and very tired of existing in this lonely small space, that no longer feels mine. Definitely time to go "home"!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Automotive Screws

  Well..here we go..off on a topic I haven't thought of in awhile, but one that drives me totally batty!
  Has anyone gone to an automotive dealers service department? If so, I wonder, was it a pleasant experience? I highly doubt it, but..hey, anything is possible.
  I just had a family member get hit by a shock, and boy, did it bring back some pretty awful memories. Warranty work that was totally covered, suddenly costing a chunk of money, because..while doing the repairs covered, suddenly other issues were noticed, and of course fixed willy nilly. Those issues, of course required immediate payment from our pocket. Money was handed over when service was suppose to be free.
  See, I live a life of budgeting. Every single penny has some hand out waiting for it. Vehicles, well, yes, they are a necessary expense, but, when it is an issue that the manufacturer is liable for, and has sent out a message telling us to go on down..the price is right..FREE..it should be something one doesn't become concerned about. No worry about the money, because none necessary. Go ahead, you will have to suffer some inconvenience, but your hand can stay out of your pocket...even coffee is free..well sometimes.
  Warranty work, I think, is a way for service departments to sock it to the unsuspecting. Last trip we made, ended up costing an extra $1500 for issues we did not even know about. Top that off with the fact that the one issue we actually requested they address, they claimed we were imagining. We were not..in fact less than one week after dishing the money out for the things we didn't request, we got hit with the result of them not finding the issue we requested they fix.
  See, I have to keep my eyes open when we deal with sh*t like this. Last time, my honey went to the counter before I could get there, and took the smack in the head, quietly. I should have been faster, because..I think what they do is pretty darn close to criminal.
  When you take a vehicle in for a particular issue, they request your phone number. I have to wonder why they do this. You would think if they come across something out of line, they would pick up the phone and call the listed number to inquire what you would like them to do. Nope! No call, they just take it upon themselves to do whatever suits their fancy, and then have the girl behind the counter type up a really neat invoice listing all sort of labour costs, and parts, that if you don't have a mechanic ticket, you can't possibly decipher.
  My whole family once sat at a dealer service department.We were out of town for Christmas shopping, and decided to go on in for one of those Winter Tune ups they advertise for a pretty decent price. There we all sat, kids impatient to go shopping, parents going snakey trying to keep them seated. It seemed to take a very long time, and then I saw the guy wave us over to the counter. I had the cost of this tune up in my purse, separate from the gift shopping money. Well..imagine my shock at the price on the bottom. Apparently they replaced ball joints, along with the $129. tune-up. WTF??? Well, as I have said before, life has always been a little touch and go..money has to be spread out thinly, and back then, it was tough going. That bill, took up the allotted cash, plus the gift money, plus some of the bill money in the bank.
  I lost it. See, I don't like people taking advantage of others, and I especially don't like that uncomfortable feeling of having strangers being "intimate" with me against my wishes. We were not alone in this area, but I didn't care. I informed the counter person that they had screwed up our whole Christmas. I told them Santa would not be visiting my kids, thanks to them. I told them they had no right to do work that was not requested, and that they had all the opportunity to walk across the hall and speak directly to us, because we had sat like bumps on the wall waiting right from the start.
  We didn't walk away with having to only pay for the tune up..that would have been perfect, however, we did leave having to only pay for the parts. I have done this before..go in for an advertised special and end up with some massive costs, because the advertised special didn't include your make of parts. See..its the major matter of them having the means to contact you..why do they take the number, if they can't seem to call? The first one..I got at the advertised price..because I was "making a scene" and they wanted me out of there. I didn't go off the deep end because I wanted to make a scene..I went there because someone screwed me, and didn't even whisper in my ear.
  Times around these parts are getting pretty tough now. Folks are not getting the great big pay days because they worked a month straight, 12-14 hours a day. There are fewer zeros on the take home pay. Costs have not dropped, income has. Fort St John has had a nice run of things. Lots of young people with money to burn, new vehicles for oil patch jobs, ATV's, restaurant meals, big staff parties, high priced homes..that is over. Each and every business in this city will suffer, as those patch workers struggle to attempt to survive this bust.
  Business knows exactly what is happening to its customers. The same customers who allowed them to flourish during the good times. Why on earth would a business feel the need to screw those who helped them along the way? I can guarantee those folks working for the business are feeling the pinch, and know there is not a whack of extra cash sitting in many pockets, because , yep..cash is likely slimmer in their own. They must understand a warranty job is one that is paid for by someone other than the vehicle owner..cripes... they will get the payment for this job. So, instead they don't do the warranty job, instead they claim to have found something major besides it, screw everything up, so it is incapable of leaving the facility it managed to drive to, and hand over a bill for absolutely nothing!
  I imagine they expect the person to dig through the lint and find that spare money hidden away for these surprise costs. Again..I believe they themselves do not have this spare money..so where is it to appear from?
  Times will turn again for this city. It has happened before, this time, maybe it will take just a little longer than the past. Screwing loyal customers is definitely not something one should be doing, when times are tough. Warranty work can certainly be done elsewhere, and when you stop selling new vehicles, and folks try and get by with some duct tape fixing, the fact that you can't be trusted, might just be enough to close your doors! You get more bees with honey..you start handing out crap..folks will just go where things are a little sweeter!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Moments of Clarity

  Some of you know what life has been like for me, especially the past 2.5 months. I have been living in my house, that is no longer a home, and at most times, it has been filled with strangers. Definitely one of the most stressful times of my life. I admit, I have not been at my best. Temper flares continually. I imagine I am going to kick the bucket more than once a day, and usually hit the bed, wondering if I am going to wake up. Even the dogs stay their distance. Poor dogs, I have not been a very nice companion to them, and they are the only companionship I have. Hope they forgive easily. I keep promising them it will get better, and while doing that I am attempting to convince myself.
  The drama that has unfolded has truly made me believe Murphy's Law rules my world, and although I have tried to embrace that fact, some moments just throw me for a loop. Those moments, I feel very sorry for myself. I think part of the problem is, besides the dogs, I have no cornered victims to listen to my constant whining, and I am actually getting sick of myself!
  Granted, I have found myself in a predicament. I am in a place that has taken all control away from me, and caused me to rely on strangers to fix things. They don't have anything riding on their time schedules, and I have to hurry up and wait constantly. I think this would probably tick off even my most patient friends, and those friends are always trying to boost my spirits. I appreciate their support, and like anyone else, love to wallow in their sympathy. Sure, sometimes I know they are getting fed up with my wha whaaing, but I do have some pretty awesome friends.
  However, every so often I am smacked with a moment of clarity. What I am dealing with is not deadly (well maybe if the stress level goes off the charts). It is not chronic, there will be an end to it(hopefully before my end). And, I am alive, somewhat sane (a tad intermittent) and reasonably healthy.
  Things could be a sh*tload worse. I am not like my BFF, I have not been dealt the C card, and had to fight for my life. I have not lost a loved one. Life may be altered beyond recognition for this period of time, but, it is going to go back to "normal", unlike so many others.
  I just wish those moments would happen more often. They are like medication for my Murphy bouts.If I could just focus on the positives! Well, those who know me well, and of course my family, have nicknamed me Debbie Downer..or Negative Nelly, so..obviously thinking positive is not my best ability.
  I wonder, all those folks who throw out the little life lines to "buck up" and "tomorrow will be a better day", do they think this more often than I do? How wonderful life would be if I could simply wash today right out of the picture. Today has been filled with poop, after yesterdays poop, but not a problem, because when I wake up tomorrow, which will be today (right?) things will suddenly be poop free! Gosh, imagine what an amazing person I would be. I just wouldn't even be able to handle me! Smiling all the time..hey I would be a whole lot quieter, because I certainly wouldn't have a single thing to b*tch about, so why would I even consider opening my mouth?
  Sadly, moments of clarity just don't happen near enough. Life probably would be much easier if they had began back in high school, and I had an open mind to study and be smart. But...that didn't happen. Even then I must have simply decided there was no sense in trying to study, because I was just going to blank out when the test was placed in front of me (yep..happened just that quickly), so save the time and energy, trust I would fail, and learn to deal with it.
  Hey, I have gotten better with time. Over the decades I have come to understand, I can manage an awful lot more than I ever imagined. Just sometimes I step back into my regular routine, and don't trust myself. Fine, I still haven't won the bloody lotto, and for some obscure reason, I keep trying. If I can believe I actually have a chance of winning that, well sh*t, I can certainly believe that almost anything is possible.
  Going to try and work on changing the clarity moments into hours. I am pretty easily addicted to things like potato chips, and caffine..so perhaps if I put some effort into this, I can begin to see things clearly, and offer Murphy a more appealing place of residence, with someone stuck in the darkness.
  My little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel has actually started glowing, and it brings with it a big bundle of hope. Funny as I was writing this last sentence, I suddenly remembered my High School Graduation song..I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW, by Johnny Nash. Yes, I am definitely a slow learner, I graduated in 1974...but finally catching on!