For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

well, it's done, then...

Canada is now, with a vote of 158 to 133, officially the third country in the world to recognise same sex marriages.

The whole thing stinks.

Now, don't get me wrong. I actually believe the homosexual couples *should* have the same legal recognition heterosexual couples do. Civil marriage is a legal contract between two parties, and I see no reason why gay couples shouldn't have access to that contract. I think such legal recognition was necessary and long overdue.

No, that's not what bothers me.

Part of what bothers me is that what passed isn't the granting of equal rights to same sex partners. What passed is the redefinition of marriage in general. Whenever goverment or the law starts playing around with definitions of words, it sets alarm bells off in my head. Marriage means different things in different cultures. Such things are far more fluid than some are willing to accept. Changing a definition in law, however, destroys that fluidity. That concerns me. I am of the personal belief that, given a bit more time, the cultural definition of marriage in the general populace would have included same sex marriages. Until then, simply allowing for a civil contract equal to a marriage contract would have sufficed.

Another part of what bothers me is how it was done. It was forced through, with much manipulation and politikking, by a party that once swore that the definition of marriage was one man and one woman, and that they'd never change that. This same party has now forced its own members to vote against their constituants desires (the majority of Canadians were against the ruling, including people within the gay and lesbian community). Debate and dissention wasn't allowed, and anyone who was against the bill (including those who actually wanted same sex couples to have the same legal rights as opposite sex couples; they just didn't want the term "marriage" redefined) were called bigots and homophobes. I doubt the powers that be could care less about gays, heteros or anyone one other then themselves and their political power plays. I feel that the whole thing is just a game to them, and they're using the same sex issue as another marker to move on the board.

Then there's the religious angle. It's been promised that, should marrying a same sex couple go against a church's religious beliefs, or the religious beliefs of a marriage commisioner, they would not be forced to perform the ceremonies. Well, we know how true that promise turned out to be when several marriage commisioners were fired for refusing to perform same sex ceremonies because of their personal beliefs. It's only one step farther to try and force churches to perform same sex marriages. What concerns me greatly is that I've had people point blank tell that they believe churches *should* be forced to perform these ceremonies, and some groups have already called on the goverment to recind the tax-free status of churches if they refuse. Interestingly, only Christian churches, particularily Roman Catholics, have been targetted by these groups. First of all, not all Christian churches are against it. Second, other non-christian religions are equally, if not more, against recognition of same sex marriage, and will not perform the ceremonies.

Personally, I see civil marriages and religious marriages as two different things. I think that any couple should be able to have a legally recognised civil marriage, same sex or otherwise. I, however, feel that forcing religions to do the same is wrong.

Giving one group equal rights shouldn't come at the cost of infringing on the rights of another.

So how's the weather for ya?

Schedule change. A new co-worker having one last day of training, another co-working having her last day of work while training him, so I get a day off in the middle of my week. There's only ever 2 people working a shift, except for when a new person is training. I kind of like that. I don't mind having more co-workers, except that I've noticed that the more there are, the greater the internal politics becomes, and I don't play those games. Besides, the customers are a lot more fun. :-D

After a few sunny, rain free days, hopes were dashed by yet another severe thunderstorm a couple of nights ago. It started where we were at about 3:30 am - it had started raining well before that, but things really went crazy by then. One of our newspaper delivery people came in with our papers and ended up staying. She couldn't see to drive and was totally soaked just from getting from her car to the door she parked next to. Finally, after an hour, she left anyways, hoping she'd be able to finish her route. The rain wasn't coming down as hard as when she arrived, but it was still as heavy. We were "lucky."

The area only got a few inches total. Just a lot of flooded basements. The RM guys have been working all night, trying to pump the water out. It just doesn't have anywhere to go. Everything's saturated. I remembered seeing one farmer's field on the way to work where he'd cut his first hay. With how things are expected to be for the next while, I doubt it'll dry before it starts to rot. :-(

Still, we were rather fortunate. Other areas got worse floods than we did, plus flash floods, washed out roads - even a sink hole.

The fishermen are doing well, though. With all the extra water, the fish are hanging around the area longer than usual. The season is technically another week and a bit longer, but most years, they're done by now. I haven't been seeing as many of them because it's been still raining during my shifts, with just a few hardy crews were coming through. Hitting that lake during a storm is pretty dangerous, though. Between it's huge size (although the town I work in is located at a fairly narrow part of the lake, the opposite shore is just barely visible on a clear day) and shallowness, it's quite unpredictable. Throw in the waterspouts that occasionally happen, and it definitely makes life interesting!

This morning, we seemed to have missed yet another thunderstorm. I heard it go by to the south at about 4 am. I really feel for the people at the southern end of the province. They've got it much harder than where I'm living.

Forget "go west, young man." These days, it's "go north!"

Sunday, June 26, 2005

... as time flows and the winds blow...


Well, it's been a while. Strange. You'd think, with the kids gone and the house to myself, I'd have more time to write here. Nope. That's not how it's turning out.

When I get home from work, dh is at his office, so I go online to chat with him on MSN. Now, I've got about 4-5 hours between the time I get home and the time I need to get to bed. That *should* be lots of time spent doing things around the house. Instead, I find I'm spending most of that time talking to dh on MSN. Sure, I stop to make and eat supper and a few other things, but I still end up on my ass in front of the computer for far too long. Then I go to sleep. At 9 pm, as prearranged with dh, he phones me and we chat a bit more. Not too long. More to touch base and for his peace of mind. Then I'm off to work.

When I've got my nights off, the kids are here. I find I'm not doing much during the night because I don't want to make too much noise and wake them. Instead I...

yup. Spend too much time on the computer. *sigh* Well, except for the times when yet another thunderstorm blows threw and I shut everything down. We've been having a lot of those lately. Another one blew through this morning shortly after 4 am. I keep thinking the lone spruce tree behind our house is eventually going to end up on the ground. With the prevailing winds right now, if that happens, it'll land right about where we park our car. Hmmm. Either that or on the living room roof, which is also partly over the kids' current bedroom. Hmmm again. Were it my tree, I'd probably have cut it down by now and replaced with with something that doesn't grow quite so tall.

Meanwhile, I've learned that I'm *not* going to have a room mate after all. She's decided to move back to the city early, instead. That's probably for the best all around.

Work is going all right. I'm not making too many mistakes. *L* I must admit, though, this job shouldn't be as much hassle as it is. It's the paperwork thing. Cashiers should NOT be doing bookkeeping, to start with. Plus, some of it shouldn't need to be done at all. The problem is that they've got an old POS system that doesn't do half of what it should. I mean, there is *no* reason for there to be a seperate touch screen to handle credit and debit purshases, point redemtion, etc. And if people paying cash need a reciept (like many of the fishermen do), the till doesn't automatically print one out. Not only that, but the reciept it *does* print out doesn't have the info they need for their taxes. It has to be manually put through the touch screen so a seperate reciept can be printed out. It's a real time waster.

A lot of the info I have to keep track of seperately could - and should - be done far more efficiently by the computer system. Far too many man-hours is being wasted having cashiers do paperwork. It's innefficient, prone to errors, and in the long run, probably costs them a lot of $$.

Ah, well. It's only for the summer. :-P

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Oh, for crying out loud!

By now, pretty much everyone I know around here, and more than a few I don't, knows I'm working nights now. News travels fast in small towns, no matter how boring it is. *L*

Now, I don't expect other people to make exceptions just because I work nights. If the sun is shining, they're going to mow their lawns, drive their dirt bikes and atv's, talk loudly outside, and so on. HOWEVER... phoning me in the middle of the day is something else completely!

A few days ago, I got a call at about 2 in the afternoon. Having talked to my husband who mentioned that another employer had called me up about a position on the very day I was to start my new job (interrupting my attempt to sleep, of course, but they had no way of knowing that), she decided she would apply for that position. She and I used to do the same job - in fact, she was hired to replace me and I trained her - so what does she do? She phones me up shortly after 2 in the afternoon - KNOWING full well that I was in bed - to ask me questions about how to describe the position on the resume she's updating. I blearily answer the phone (yeah, I know - I could let the voice mail take it, but by the time that picks up, I'd be wide awake anyways. Besides, if someone's calling me that time of day, I sort of assume it's important). I answer her questions as best I can, squinting over at the clock and realizing I've only been asleep for an hour, then have to tell her that I'm falling asleep on her so I'd better go.

Great. That's it, then, right?

Of course not.

Today, shortly before 2:30 in the afternoon, the phone rings. My initial thought is that it's 9 pm, my husband in phoning, and why the heck didn't my alarm clock go off at 8:30 like it was supposed to? I become immediately disoriented by the female voice at the other end. Ah. It's her - squint at the clock. Yup - I've only been in bed for about an hour. The first thing she does is apologise for waking me up. Uh huh. So what's so important that she'd phone me?

Well, she's filling out the application form for that position I turned down and had some questions about our previous employer. Like how much we made an hour to start. After a couple of minutes, she thanks me and tells me she'll let me go back to sleep now.

Now, an interrupted sleep for me is worse than no sleep at all. Being a rare sunny day, *everyone* was mowing their lawns. Next door had the riding mower and push mower going at the same time. Having finally fallen asleep, I could have stayed asleep, but once that phone rang, all bets were off. After a frustrating hour of trying to get back to sleep but only becoming more wide awake and starting to get pretty steamed in the process (she *knew* she'd be waking me up but phoned anyways!), I finally get up. I call up my husband, expecting him to be out, so I wasn't surprised to get his voice mail. I leave a message asking him, the next time he spoke to her, to diplomatically point out to her that calling me at 2-3 in the afternoon is like me calling her at 1-2 am. Well, as soon as I get off the phone, it rings. My husband hadn't got to the phone fast enough, saw my number on call display, so he called back without having listened to my message. And why couldn't he answer the phone in time?

Because he'd gone for a nap. Great. Now I feel s***y for waking hime up.

So I tell him what happened, pointing out that by now, I'm the *last* person to tell her not to call me in the afternoon again. I may not care what she thinks, but I do consider her husband a good friend, and she's a friend of my husband, so I don't want them to suffer the inevitable fall out of any lack of diplomacy on my part. Then my husband, knowing full well by now how frustrated I am about not being able to get back to sleep (which, of course, keeps me awake even more) says...

"so I guess I shouldn't tell you that I'm going back to sleep right after this call."

Great. First, I feel crappy that I woke him up from his nap (considering his ongoing health issues), but I'm then reminded of the fact that he can fall asleep pretty much on demand. I couldn't tell if he was trying to be funny, or what! I think he clued in on that when my response was total silence. I simply couldn't think of a single thing to say. To be honest, I quite nearly hung up on him.

Fine, I cut the conversation short so that I can make another attempt at going back to sleep. Eventually, several hours later, I do fall asleep.

Only to be awakened at 8:30 pm - by the phone ringing. Who is it?

My husband.

It seems he was talking to another friend out here who's going to need to move out of her apartment RFN because the landlord has decided to take advantage of the tourist season and rent the place out on a weekly basis, so she's being evicted. She's looking for a place to stay and I've got lots of room, so he figured I could rent part of it out to her. He figured that a possible extra $300 a month (I guess he's already figured that part out for me?) was worth phoning me early. He seemed confused that I wasn't as excited about this as he was. He also seemed to think I'd jump on the idea right off the bat and say yes right away.

First of all, I'm groggy. I'm not going to make that sort of decision half asleep.

Second of all - she's got 2 dogs and a cat. I don't own this house. My parents do. My mother is already upset because I've got 2 cats. They won't be impressed if I taken in another personwith more animals. He *thinks* they're outside dogs, though. Oh, and she's willing to help me pack, too.

I told him I'd call him in the morning, after I get home from work but before I go and pick up the kids. He would like me to make a decision by then.

This is going to be a long night.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A productive day... I mean night

After 2 days (nights) at the new job, I'm on my second day off before heading back again tomorrow... uhm, later today. That's the most confusing part of working nights, I'm finding. My shift start at 11:30 pm and, as far as the computers and all those forms we have to fill out, if that 11:30 pm is a Monday, it's still Monday until the shift ends, even though it's really been Tuesday for all but 1/2 hour of my shift. So while I'm working tonight, it's really "tomorrow" since I've still got a day's sleep ahead of me. Since I'm also trying to co-ordinate when to be on the computer so I can talk to my husband or daughter through MSN, or figuring out when and how to get the kids to and from my brother's on my next "weekend" off, I finally put new blocks on my calendar that overlap the date blocks so that I can "see" my shifts where they're supposed to be, rather than looking at the calendar and thinking, "oh, no! I've got to go to work tomorrow and I'm still up at 4 am." Well of course I'm still up at 4 am. I don't go to bed until 1 pm!

I did manage to have a rather productive night. I got a piece of furniture moved out a the girls' old bedroom downstairs so, other than their old bunk bed that's going to be passed on to someone before we move, that room will have nothing but packed boxes stored in it. I even brought out a step ladder so I could dig around the shelf above the closet - because it's so high up, we never used it. We've been here a total of almost 4 years, with an almost 2 years spread in the middle where it was unoccupied for all but 3 months. I *don't* want to know how long that dessicated orange was up there! Or the pop cans, in brands we've never bought. *shudder*

Meanwhile, I got some more stuff sorted, moved and packed. I'm not pushing it too much yet. We've still got about 4 months, and I'll have a moving sale in 3 months, so it's more sorting than packing, still. Now that the girls will be staying at my brother's for most of the summer, it actually makes the job easier, in that I can pack stuff that I would normally keep out for them to use - like books, games, and so on.

One nice thing about being up all night is that I can stay online for as long as I want and not have to worry about tying up the phone line. One of my regular things is to read the Canadian online newspapers - particularily the columnists and letters to the editors (at least those papers that don't require paid subscriptions to view these areas). I like to read people's opinions about things. I like to know what they think and feel about issues. With that in mind, I sometimes check out one of the news forums at my main national news website. Every now and then, I'm tempted to post on one because I'd like to discuss some issue that's in the news and would like to hear other people's thoughts.

Then I read some of the posts already on the forum and promptly decided it's not worth it! I've noticed a tendancy for a small number of people, usually with just 2 or 3 main instigators of opposing opinions, that do nothing but post insults at each other. Isn't the point of a forum to intelligently disuss ideas, including opposing ones, so as to learn more about the subject at hand? Why post if all you're going to do is insult other people for disagreeing with you? Of course, the ones that are the worst offenders are inevitably the ones that seem the least knowledgable on the subject, and the most closed minded. It makes me wonder why they're even there. Does it somehow make them feel better to burst a bloodvessel "shouting" insults to another poster on a subjec that obviously makes their blood boil? I don't get it.

Ah, well. It's not like I've got a whole lot of time for stuff like that, anyways.

Another cup of tea, then it's back to sorting and packing.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Say what?

Well, my first day on the new job went well. You wouldn't believe how many finniky details and endless forms a gas station cashier has to keep track of. *L* My trainer seemed to know everyone on a first name basis, too.

My new place of employment is the *only* place that's open 24 hours in an area that includes several towns and at least 3, probably 5, municipalites. So things are pretty steady all night. There are also regular busy times, like when one of the local bars lets out and we find ourselves inundated with boistrous partons followed by worn out staff wondering "is that blood on my shirt" while talking about the big fight just at closing time.

Then at about 4 am, the fishermen start showing up. Some come in groups as the whole crew swings through, while others come by in pairs or individuals. They fill their trucks and jerry cans with gas, buy lots of coffee, smokes, and a few pops, Sobe's, and snacks before a long day of fishing in the fog.

Some of these guys have obviously been plying their trade their whole lives. Years of working the lake in all weather leaves it's mark, and it's one that seems to be universally worn with dignitiy. These people know this lake intimately - it's one of the most dangerous freshwater lakes in the world to be on when the weather turns bad. There were a few young men, too, just beginning to show the lake's mark on their faces, plus the odd fresh faced teenager, just beginning their love affair with the lake. The fishermen remind me of farmers, actually. The lake obviously has a hold on them as strong as the land has on those who work the fields - a hold I still feel myself, even though I've been off the farm for almost 20 years. Land or water, it works it's way into the soul, then shines agelessly through eyes crinkled from years of squinting through sun and storm, steady and strong under wind ravaged hair.

One particular fisherman came in alone and got some gas and smokes. Obviously another long time fisherman. I was working the till, chatting with him, while my trainer stood by, also chatting. As the person moved around, I caught some movement under his t-shirt and relized I was looking at the most well developed set of moobs I've ever seen. I mean, this guy was no G-up, but he definately swung and hung as low as I ever did before my surgery. You just don't expect to see that around a woman's waistline, never mind a man's! *L* No big deal. I handed him his change, wished him a good day, and off he went. My trainer, who had been talking to him, then made a comment about how "she always comes by this time of the day."

Say what??? "She?!?!" Now, I've seen some androgynous people before. I've had conversations with clients and still found myself wondering "was I talking to a feminine looking man or a masculine looking woman?" I had no such sense of abiguity here. I had no inkling that I was talking to anyone other than another weather beaten, middle aged man. You'd think, having seen the swing, I would have clued in, but nope. Not even a little.

Now that I think back, that could have been an incredibly embaressing moment. *L*

Friday, June 03, 2005

Starting over

Today's a day I seem to be starting over on many fronts.

In a few hours, I start a new job for the summer. I will be working nights, which is perfect for this night owl personality - except that I should be sleeping right now, and I can't. More on why, later.

I'm starting a new blog. The last one's gone. Blogging allows a certain level of anonyminity. I don't mind some people knowing who I am, but others - bye bye blog! Time to start over.

I'm going to be moving soon. It can't be soon enough. I just got a "visit" from my mother today. I found out she was here when I was awakened by a noise outside my window. She was "gardening" for me. She continued to wreak havoc outside the house, which doesn't look too hot right now, since a broken lawnmower and none I can borrow has meant the lawn still hasn't been cut this year at all. Then she came inside (she owns the house - it's not like I can keep her out) and went in to check the water in the basement, saw the mess down there and started calling me and my kids "lazy Indians" repeatedly (my husband is Metis, and to her, calling someone Indian is the worst of insults) before storming out, leaving me in tears and my kids thoroughly disjusted with her. I haven't been able to get more than about an hour's sleep since then. My husband is already gone with his new job and it'll be a few months before the girls and I can join him. I can hardly wait.

On learning about my new job and the hours I'll be keeping, some family members have asked/offered to have the girls stay with them during me "week," then bringing them home on my "weekends." They are being picked up tonight, so in a way, I'm starting over again as a "single." No husband, no kids. Just me and the cats! This is going to be so weird!

New job, soon new home in new province, and soon well away from the most toxic person I've ever known in my life - my own mother.

I like starting over.