Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 40

Sorry I've been a little absent.  I've seriously gotten my nose down to the books lately and have been studying my butt off on my A+ exams.

Got 1000 pages to go to finish this book... Hopefully I'll be taking the exams next month.

Other than studying not much else has been going on.  Yesterday, I had a little blip with the family, and that all got sorted out.  Due to a situation, I emailed all my family members, unsure of how they were going to take it.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Fortunately, I had written the email the night before and slept on it and did some editing before I sent it... the original was much less nicer.

Wise advice: never send a letter in the heat of the moment.  It might sound perfect then - but you may come to regret it later.

So, tonight I'm off to a company christmas party of my wife's.  Should be fun... I hope.  There are prizes!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 38

Starting to feel alot better now.  Getting past the post COLG blues.  Thank God.

Last night I had Titanic rehearsals.  It was alot of fun actually, I haven't been part of a musical before, and this is just awesome.  I just wish I could sing like I used to before I went deaf.  Now, I can't carry a tune for the life of me.  Watching them perform their lines and then burst into song... It's fun.

Almost like Glee - live.  You just can't help feeling part of the music.

So I'll be working backstage, moving the set and stuff with a crew of 5 of us.  I'm looking forward to it ;)

Although sometime this year, I'm definitely going to audition for a part in SOMEthing out there.  As much as I love helping out in ANYthing, it'd be fun to be on the stage too somewhere down the line.


Today's a day of errands, got some house cleaning and stuff to do, and then I'm off Christmas Shopping!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 37

So.... Tuesday.

Still working through a bit of a funk.  Although, I've been writing pretty prolifically lately.  Whenever my muse strikes me, I've stopped and sat down to write, whether on my blackberry, or on the laptop if it's handy.  Probably part of it comes from feeling a little down at times, and the other part comes from having re awoken an artistic side I had too long ignored until the play.

Still going through the A Plus stuff, I have to stop procrastinating and book an exam.  I'll probably do that at some point today.

Anyways...  This morning after dropping off Jana and her friend I was driving and thinking how much our lives are like stain glass windows.  Each window tells a story about our past.  The only people who ever get to see these windows are ones we've let into our hearts.  I think it's a beautiful idea, I really liked it... Anyways, I wrote this;

Stained glass windows,
Fill every corner of my heart,
The light they let in,
The story you see.

Though you cannot peek outside,
The stained glass windows,
Tell the story of me.

Every pane of that window,
Tells a lesson I've learned,
And places I've gone,
Every shadow holds a fear that's in me.

So many stained glass windows,
They're part of my soul,
They're as fragile as any can be,
With a careless movement,
Or a misspoken word,
They shatter so easily.

Take care to admire,
If you look in my soul,
Tread softly and carefully,
With my stained glass windows,
I'll pour out my heart,
Its not shown so carelessly.

I should probably say it's a work in progress...  I think it's a little rough.  And Jana thinks it's a little dark.

Oh well.  I still like it anyways.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 36

We're finally done everything for Children of a Lesser God.

While we're happy to get our lives back and eat healthy, get our laundry done, and have time to workout and everything else... Alot of us are feeling a little blue this week.  So many of us put so much of our time and heart into the play, and now that it's over.  The set is wrapped up, rehearsals are done, performances made...  We all miss it a great deal.

We all miss each other too.  It's amazing how people can grow in your heart over time.  I think it's a little like Heaven.  When people become part of your life, they leave little marks on your soul, and they never go away.  So I'll treasure the friendships we've made.  I'll laugh at the drama we've had, both the good and the bad... And yeah, I'll even miss fighting with the damn projectors virtually every night.

So now I have my regular schedule back - I'll be working on my A Plus now, reading that book from cover to cover and then going for my exam.

I'll be going to rehearsals for Titanic, which performs next month.

And then after that...  Well, I've got a few other shows lined up and then I'll find the next one.

But in the meantime, I'll keep on keeping on with the friendships I've made, and remembering... The world out there is far more precious than the world I've come to think of as safe, on the computer screen or in the XBOX.

6 years of cave dwelling and keeping to myself, licking my wounds after escaping the cult...

It's nice to discover that there are passions to keep alive.  Dreams to be realized, and that life can be greater than I ever imagined.  I'll try and not be too maudlin this week.  It worries my wife too much when I'm feeling blue and down in the dumps.  From everything I've heard though, it's normal after a show is done.

To all my friends, within the cast, and those who I've met in other places along life's journey...

Thanks for making your mark.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 32

Now that Tech week is over and the stage is set up, and pretty much everything is done in the theater...  I'm back at home again.  Taking today as an easy day and then I'll get back onto business again tomorrow.

Tonight I'm heading down to be at the theater by 4 o clock, still got to deal with the projectors, and call time is at 7...  Thing is, with Calgary's traffic, I'd rather be there super early than fighting and swearing at drivers who can't drive on these cotton pickin' streets.  They speed when it's icy, and slow to a crawl when it's perfectly safe.  It's purely maddening.

Pumphouse road is brutal too - it's a connector to Bow Trail which is a mob by rush hour.

Anyways, enough complaining.  I'm kicking back, catching up on some reading and some shows, and then out the door around 2 o clock to do some running around before I head down to the Pumphouse.

Soooo glad there's a show tonight.  I miss everyone!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 31 - Theater Day off

Finally a day off from the theater.

All week last week I've been down at the theater, virtually from the time I get up, to 10, 11, or 12 at night.  Long days, but I love it.

I've been helping create the set, assisting the director and Stage Manager, setting up the captions and most of all fighting with the bloody projectors.

Of all the things that could go wrong, the projectors were by far the worst.  For Children of a Lesser God we wanted the show to be accessible to everyone.  Even the hard of hearing.  That meant the captions had to be clear and well formatted.  We have three projectors spanning the whole screen, and they never seem to want to co operate with us.  Almost every performance there's been something wrong with them.  And it's really hurt our productivity because we're fighting with them.


Even when the show isn't going on, there's drama.

I won't go into all the details, because I'm not about to gossip about people on a large public forum like this... but let's just say - Theater is fluid.

If the projectors are working, sometimes the people aren't.  And that's the beauty and challenge of theater.

I love it all though.  Even more than sitting at home, reading or playing games.  Because I'm telling a story, I'm helping to anyways.  And more than that, I'm building relationships with other people, that are simply amazing.  You really grow to love the people in your show, at least I do in this one.  We've become a team, supporting and looking out for each other.  And even though we haven't done a perfect show where everything is RIGHT down to a T, we're still doing our best to make it come as close to a perfect 10 as we can.

So today I feel a little down sometimes.  I miss running in there and working on the show.  And even more, I miss seeing the cast come in during call and the comaradrie.

Friday night we opened the show officially, and had an opening party afterwards.  Everyone was in high spirits, after over 3 months of rehearsals, the show was ON!  So we went out to BP's after to celebrate.  I really really wish I could've stayed longer.  We were having so much fun, but I had to leave a half hour after.  My wife was home sick and hadn't seen me for more than 5 minutes all week.

Unfortunately, she was so exhausted she had gone to bed shortly before I got home.  And I didn't get home til 1am.

Still, she's glad I'm not there tonight.

Tommorow though!! 5 straight shows!!  Then it ends.

But not to worry, I'm already going to be working with someone else on Titanic, and then after that I've offered our director my assistance with Joseph's Technicolor Coat, and STILL after that, I'm helping our Stage Manager with Brigadoon.

I'm hooked, and there's nothing I like doing better, than being part of all this.  How this will work with my future in IT?  I don't know... One way or another, I'll find a way, because more than anything else, this is really where I want to be.

Theater Junkie

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Well, it's been a crazy weekend.  From an almost suicidal drive to visit my bro for his birthday up in Rimbey, to a madcap day of fun fun fun setting up my theater for our upcoming play.

I've just spent the whole day moving things into our theater for the production set to start on Friday.  We're creating the set with trees, pond, rocks, a bed and other things.  Rehearsing lines, setting lights, co ordinating audio...  It's AWESOME and I love it.  I'll be doing that all week this week so I won't have much time to blog.

And EVEN better I've been asked to help out next month in January, the next production will be "Joseph's Technicolor Dream Coat" and I can't WAIT to be part of that too...

Merry Christmas to me!!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 24

Yesterday was swamped.  I was running in and out of the house all day.  Lots to get done.

I'm still typing out the captions to the play, reading my A+ book when I have time and also visiting family when they come into town.

Today I'm probably just picking up grocceries, and meeting a friend for lunch.  Aside from that, I've still got about 20 or 30 pages of captions to type out.

Nothing profound today I'm afraid.

Although, I do have to say, Calgary's been covered with snow... over a foot of it I believe.

Or at least it seems that way.  I LOVE our winter tires on the CRV, where some drivers are driving like scared little mice, we can pretty confidently move around.  Although I have to say, I'm not really thrilled about winter.  Some day I hope I can move some place like, say, San Diego.  I'm so sick of winter weather.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 22

Well that was a nice weekend.  In spite of a roaring migraine on Saturday that nearly had me upchucking that night.

So, my grandparents call first thing on Saturday morning from their cell phone.  Nearly a month ago they went down to Arizona.  So I'm thinking, "WTF are they doing calling me on a cell phone?"

Lo and behold they're back in Airdrie again.  Which I thought was very ironic, considering my entire family was telling them not to go down south with grandpa's health in serious jeopardy.  Of course, they were stubborn and went anyways.  Being the good grandson I am, I didn't throw this back in their face.  I was tempted... really tempted.  However, grandpa's health seriously went to worse when they went down, so I wasn't about to be mean.

So, my wife and I hightailed it to their house and helped them unload their motorhome.  She says, "We had to come back a little early."  To which I responded, "Well if that isn't an understatement..."

They're usually not back until April or May.  Given how bad grandpa's health is...  Well... it's not good.

After helping them out with that, I limped my poor brain into Chapters and got my A+ books for a significant discount with a 25% off coupon.  So I'll be spending some time this afternoon reading up on that.

After all that was done, I lay down for a nap... Which gave me a few hours of relief before the evil snake of a migraine coiled up in my brain again.  Fun times.  I ended up cancelling on going out to a deaf party at Schank's that night.  I was completely bummed, from what I hear, it was a packed house that night.

Next time I guess.

So... then it was Sunday, migraine free and feeling pretty happy we went to Church.

Yes you heard me... Church.

I haven't gone to any form of Church for nearly 2 years now.  I strongly dislike traditional Church.  After growing up in a very religious atmosphere, spending 6 years in a cult and then a few more years in traditional church settings... I'd paid my dues to religion.

That's not to say I don't love God, and I don't adore Jesus, but I have absolutely no love for any sort of institutionalized religion.

So this was a breath of fresh air... I went to a REAL Church.

Yes, that's right... It was as real as I think it gets.

This is what I think a real Church is... people hanging out, relaxing, enjoying each other's company, and if God, Jesus, or the cross comes up in conversation, hallelujah.  No preachers, no sunday school, no enforced Bible studies... Just good old fellowship and hanging out.

So we got there at 11, bringing in a load of donuts, and met people.  Then we sat down around this huge table, had a 15 minute communion and the rest of the time we just ate lunch and visited.  Of course God came up, often, and that was fine.  He was just part of our conversation, like an old guest who had cheerfully arrived and was warmly welcomed.

I can't think of any better Church there is... For once Christianity was real, just like Jesus did it... hanging out with his buddies, who just happened to be called disciples, and later apostles.

No stern leaders looking down on you disparagingly, no Sunday School teachers giving you gold stars for showing up.  Just good times, and good food.

So we'll definitely be back next month for the next "meeting of the body" if you want to call it that.

Unfortunately, I had to run out just after 12, for rehearsal.  We also had photos to take, reporters to appease, and 4 long hours of going over lines.

Regarding lines....

Woe betide the fool who brings out his script and doesn't go off book on Tuesday.  Let's just say someone pulled out his script and cheated on Sunday, and the frakking shit hit the fan.  Oh yeah....  Dude, if you're reading this... I love you like a brother, but it's time to get off your crutches and walk.

I'm laughing as I write this.

But yeah... We have one week of rehearsals left, and then next week we're setting up the set, the lights, the cues, and badda bang, badda boom, Friday is opening night.  So, if people are still running on the script...

I pity the fool.

So after being there from 12:30 to nearly 6 o clock, I was exhausted.  We got home and just kicked back with my wife's good ol' home cooking and watched a few shows and then went to bed.

So now it's Monday morning and I have some tasks for myself ahead of me.

Gonna work on the captions for the play.  Read up on my A plus book.  Clean up the back yard and who knows what else?  We'll see how the day goes.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 21

Ok sorry it's been so long.

A friend of mine wrote me and complained I haven't been keeping up on my blog.  It's nice to feel like someone's paying attention.  :)

So the last few days, I've been feeling like I've been fighting a cold.  Things have been pretty low key.  I've been keeping the house moderately clean, and pretty  much just reading the Wheel of Time Book 13 on the couch.  I'm so disapointed I'm nearly finished it... Now I have to wait one more year for the final book to come out.  I've been reading this series since 1992, and it's been a looooong time waiting for the conclusion.

Some people think Robert Jordan was just trying to squeeze every penny out of his fans.  I don't think so.  If you're a master craftsman and you want to tell the best story you can, a magnum opus that spans so many lives and so many events that culminate in one massive amazing conclusion, wouldn't you take your time and tell the tale properly?  That's what I think he did.  Of course, it's so stunningly massive that I've had to reread the series several times since it came out...  Which is why I have all the audiobooks for it.

And some books are just so jaw droppingly awesome I have to go back and reread or relisten to them all over again.  Like a delicious Thanksgiving dinner that you reheat in the microwave the day after, and delight in it all over again...  Albeit this one is almost 20 years old so it's starting to get a little moldy on some portions.

In other news...

I went to Chapters yesterday to get my A+ books to study over the next month for my exam... Which reminds me I have to call and book that.  In any case, these books are not cheap.  I'm buying two of them, the most expensive one being 75 bucks.  Thank GOD tommorow I have a coupon for 25% off.... That'll save me a good chunk of change when these books turn out to be $150 altogether after taxes.

They look interesting, I can't wait to get into them.  Maybe I'll even learn more things about computers I never knew before.

I'm in a state of disbelief at the moment... I want to be IT, but I never thought I'd get to do that.  After meeting a 23 year old girl, who's ambitious as anyone I've ever met.  She's already a successful real estate agent, owns a home of her own, and wants to move to an acreage in a few years...  It's inspired me to go after my own dreams myself.

She wants to retire young.

Which is a nice goal.  But for myself, I want to find a job that I love so much that I can't believe I'm getting paid for it.  And best of all, a job I love so much that I never want to retire.

Who knows, it may not be IT.  And it may be...  But I hope somewhere along the way I find the place where I really belong and instead of counting the days to my next cheque, or the hours to the weekend, or even worse, checking off the years to my retirement...  I want to be in a state of such bliss about what I do, that it feels like magic.

Carpe Diem!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 18

  So I made a decision about the contract job.

  I'm not going to take it...  I'm pretty dead set on going for IT now.  Soooo now I just have to figure out how to pay for the courses and when I'm going to take them.

   Haven't been feeling so hot the last two days... think I've caught a nasty cold or something.  I laid down this morning at 11:30 after doing a bit of running around and was completely out til 1.  So, this afternoon I'm just going to get a few things done around the house and relax.  Another night for rehearsal tonight and I want to stay awake!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 17

  It's now been almost a month since I got laid off.  This morning I went down to a company for an interview.  They wanted to offer me a contract position.  I'm a little concerned about what it can do with my EI.  I called the info line on it, and apparently it has to be "insurable" earnings for it not to affect it.  The whole thing makes me feel cagey though.  I want to be established in my EI so I can use it for schooling if possible.

Really, I don't think I want to do engineering anymore...  I really wonder if my migraines had more to do with the stress of doing a job that I'm not talented in, and less to do with the weather and all that stuff...

So here I am... Almost a month done...  Wanting to go into IT and a company that BADLY wants me to help them with their project for the next 3 months.  Choices choices...

Gonna mull over it today, a bit and think...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 15

   Sorry I missed yesterday.  T'was another crazy day.  I think I'm coming down with something too...  Mouth tastes like metal, and I sleep way too long too easily.  Yup... definitely fighting something.

   So I had a ton of EI questions yesterday, and so far I haven't yet received any EI benefits or any REAL info on it.  Just filed a report last Saturday but I was a little foggy on what was considered "income", and in addition, I want to start taking courses in the new year to start down the IT path.

    Spent almost 2 hours there getting questions answered and dealt with... I have to play the waiting game and get "established" in my EI first before I can even sign up for a course, and if EI chooses not to cover it...

    I might just have to let EI go and move on myself and take those courses.  It's stupid, but I'd rather not spend another 12 years doing something that I merely tolerate when I could be doing something I really LOVE and do it well.  So we'll see what happens with that.

    I also picked up a new hard drive for the laptop for 60 bucks...  I don't know what's going on with my laptop, it's been acting screwy lately, and nothing I do fixes it... so either there's some Trojan on it or something, OR the hard drive is failing... sigh.  So I'm spending the morning reinstalling Windows 7 and all related software that needs to be put back on... lame.  Lame.... lame...

    What else?  Oh I got the Wheel of Time book 13 the other day.  So I've got both an copy and a Hard Cover copy.  Of COURSE I'm listening when I can't sit down and read. :)  Which is great, do errands around the house and listen... drive across town and get things done and listen...  And when you can sit on the couch and kick back with a coffee and read...  Should be finished this 900 page tome pretty fast that way.

    Life is Good.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 13

It's been a crazy day.  From the beginning taking my CRV into Honda to get winter tires on, then off to doctor's appointments with my wife, and various other personal appointments of my own.  I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write my thoughts before I'm on the go again...  I have to rack my port, and then get ready to go out and meet another friend for supper and then to rehearsal for the play.

It seems I'm even busier than I was when I was at work sometimes.

Today I have another song in my head.  "Joy in the Journey" by Michael Card.

Marriage is hard sometimes.  There are easy blissful moments, and then there are valleys of doubt and decision.  There are irritations, bumps and problems.  There are moments when communication is lost and must be restored for all that's vital.  Being out of a job seems to bring these to the fore.

Perhaps this is where men have midlife crisis.  When they're face to face with themselves and realize their dissatisfaction with who they've become, or what they've done with their lives, and toss everything to the wind in a passionate scramble to change it.

I'm sure, now, that that's not the solution.  Marriage, like much of life is an investment of time, energy, focus, patience, and most of all endurance.  The pains and irritations we face can either be embraced or discarded.  Yes, some things must be changed, but like much of life, some things can never be changed and must instead be accepted, lest we throw everything away and choose to suffer lives of emptiness and constant frustration.  In this I think of a pearl, or a diamond.

A pearl is created by a speck of sand that irritates a oyster.  A diamond is created by the stresses of the earth around it.  Neither are created easily and without cost, but because of their stresses - they come out with something far more valuable and beautiful than what was first in place.

Isn't life, and marriage like that?  If we choose to disregard and escape those pressures, at what cost do we do so?  This is why I'm convinced that no relationship in our lives are disposable.

Yes, there are abusive relationships and circumstances that if can be changed, should be changed.  Yet, as I said, not everything can be, and in many cases, maybe they shouldn't.

For me, life is a journey.  Sometimes we can't tell our head from our asses, and we end up stumbling on the road ahead and ending up in a ditch.  There are times when my head is up my ass, and I had no clue.  Times like that, have only taught me to be more gracious to others who seem to have lost their minds, and their way.

But life is a journey, and if I can remember that, and remember that it's an eternal journey; there are greater rewards, and treasures up the road that will make today's hardships seem but a sigh.  A slightly trying moment, because the rewards beyond this one are so much greater...  I can embrace my irritation, my flaws, my stresses and let it change me... and create something far more beautiful.

Further on up the road.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 12

   This weekend was pretty quiet...  I spent all day Saturday sick with a stomach bug, and then Sunday I was off to rehearsal.  We have 3 weeks before tech week and then opening night...  There's still alot of work to be done.  And when the play goes up, I'm going to be so freaking busy backstage.

  I've been thinking this job loss has been a godsend.  It really is.  There is nothing quite like being alone with oneself.   There are no distractions.  No deadlines.  No co workers.  Sure, you're job searching and sending out resumes.  You spend a great deal of time alone though.

   Being alone forces you to face yourself...  Face to face with who you really are and who you've become.  And also who you want to be.

  Our hearts are the filter of our souls, I think.  All the crap that gets caught up in life gets caught there.  And with all those distractions, you can ignore it only for so long.  Every once in a while, something will shake it up and shed a little light on your heart.  Until we take time out away from all those distractions; work, TV, video games, and movies, you never really face your heart and deal with what's inside.

   I think that's why God has given us friends, family, husbands and wives.  After all, who can care for their own heart?  "As iron sharpens iron; so one man sharpens another."  Until we learn to bare our hearts to those close to us, we can never experience true intimacy.  Nor can we experience freedom, and truly embrace life.

    This is what I'm learning.  Sometimes the task is so daunting we don't want to face it and like the proverbial ostrich stick his head in the sand, we retreat from the task and all that's showing is our ass.  The problem is; you'll never find your life in the sand.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 11

Yesterday was crazy.  After going online and checking job sites (there wasn't any new postings) I proceeded to start either fixing things around the house or cleaning things up.  A friend of ours has flown in as of last night to visit for a few days.

Our basement toilet was leaking because the floater on it was over floating on it I guess.  I replaced it and now it's working, I've earned my handyman badge, yay!  I'm not normally any good with fixing things around the house, but I'm starting to catch on to the basics... thank god.  I hate feeling useless.

It was also a pretty late night last night with rehearsal for our upcoming play... Less than a month away and there's alot of work to be done.  If I get a job before the play goes on; I hope I figure a way to handle the last two weeks of it AND go to work.

The play doesn't start till 8 in the evening, that means for two weeks I probably won't be getting home til after midnight...  That's going to be a long hard week.  But I'm looking forward to it!

Anyways, it's Friday.  Thank God.  Still things to do and be done!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 9

So now we're at 9 business days since I stopped working at my company.   Still no interviews yet.  Been watching job postings and sending out resumes.  The last two days were mostly spent with family and getting things done though.  Now it's time to get back on the job train and look some more.

Funny thing though, went out to my neice's performance at a school thing.  Just a small elementary school performance the kids were putting on for their parents.  Was really cute, although I did emerge with a migraine afterwards.  When the performance broke up, the kids returned to their native screaming state.  I'm amazed by elementary school teachers.  They must chug back the advil every day.

Anyways, that's not the funny part, the funny part was I ran into a co-worker from my previous employment there.  He's since left that company as well and it was nice to meet up and chat for a minute.  Here's where it gets even more ironic, his wife worked at the company I worked at BEFORE I went to this last job.

Hope that made sense... I'm not naming company names since I'd rather not get sued if I say something accidentally that puts me in someone's crosshairs.  But yeah, it's a small world.

I'm also feeling pretty darn good today, I just read the press release for the play I'm involved in; "Children of a Lesser God" .  Apparently my director liked an email I wrote to her about the press release, and used the entire paragraph as the starting paragraph to the press release.

Hey I may not be a published author yet, but now I have one paragraph in print!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 7

  Wow, it's been a busy day.  I've had my parentals over since last night.  Apparently everyone who's had my port, well, almost everyone, loves it.  I've used up half of my last batch giving it to family and friends, and they want more.

   This stuff ain't cheap to make, one batch costs $300 to make.  So I got my parents and my brother to all chip in for the next one, $100 each makes it easier to swallow.  So, the point of all this is I spent most of the day running around all Calgary picking up the kit and components to making this stuff.  Along the way I did a few errands and got things done.  Met up with my folks for lunch as well.

    Tommorow morning I'll start up the kit.  This stuff is the epitome of patience.  It takes a year to make and every part of the process takes patience and care.  It's crazy, but by November next year, I'll have another batch of 30+ bottles of sweet nectar.

    Wine making is another hobby of mine.  It's fascinating, chemistry, patience, and at the end of it, something you can drink that; if you do it right, tastes wonderful.

   Do it wrong and it really sucks.

    No profound thoughts today, I'm afraid, just a busy day running around, and squeezing in a bit of writing when I could.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend #1

The weekend's here!  Yay!  Even thought I'm not working, it's still a weekend for me.  I don't have to worry about missing a phone call, and pretty much every business I'm trying to get work in is down for the weekend.

Yesterday was nuts.  I drove the wife to work and once I got home my head was just pounding.  I lay down for 45 minutes and when I woke up, I noticed I had missed a call on my cell...  Some tech company called me.  Was it for work?  I don't know, they never did leave a message.  That sucked.

I spent a little time on the computer, writing and checking around, and then I had to run out and do errands for the wife, and meet up with a friend for lunch.  After that, I finally got back to the house and my head was hurting again and I was exhausted.  I tried to rest a little bit.  After 15 mins, I couldn't fall asleep, so I checked my mail.

Good news - I finally got my Record of Employment.  This whole EI thing has been pretty simple so far.  Not what I expected.  I once almost applied for EI back in '98 but the whole thing was so overwhelming I never did collect anything.  I still haven't gotten anything from EI in the way of money, but we'll see how it goes.  I've heard enough horror stories to be a little wary of depending on it.  As it was, I got my ROE so I headed down to the service Canada office, in 5 minutes I had it handed in and was on my way to Safeway to get groceries for supper.

I was rather surprised it was that quick and painless.

It may not sound like I did much yesterday, but it seems driving in Calgary can eat up alot of productivity time in the day.  I felt like I did far more on Thursday than I did yesterday.

Today's going to be nice though.  We've already did house cleaning, and I also cleaned up the hard drive.  Now I just have to get some writing done, rack my wine, and tonight I'm having a campfire with a few friends... A nice end to the week.  See you Monday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 6

Well, now it's the 2nd week of my unemployment.  Being out from under the daily grind has really changed my perspective.

It's hard not to take it personally when you've been let go.  Usually when you leave a company, it's either because you chose to, or because they feel you did something wrong.  Either you didn't like the manager or the work.  Or they didn't like you, or your work.

When you're asked to leave because they can no longer afford to keep you on, it's a whole different ball game.  At first you start to wonder if that really was the case.  I thought back to what I did in the last few months, and realized there's nothing I could've done differently, except be even more bored than I was.

Then after a few days of being unemployed and not getting many calls, you start to wonder. "Did they blackball me?  What are my references saying?  Doesn't anyone see my resume?"

And when finally that passes, especially after I've gotten a few calls.  I began to realize.  This isn't the worst case scenario.  In fact it's an opportunity.

The worst case would be that I actually did something stupid, surfing porn at work for example.  Maybe even a terrible work accident like my CPU magically flying off the desk and crushing my chest.  Gremlins perhaps.  And I could be in the hospital on a respirator because of it.

Yes, so far, looking at it, this is a fantastic opportunity for change.  Maybe I'll find a new career.  If not, maybe I'll find a fantastic new company that's even BETTER than the one I left.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll finish this book I'm writing.

Now that I'm not working on drawings focusing on being an CAD Technologist and having my engineering cap on, I've managed to dust off my old artist's cap... And I'm finding it to be even more sparkly and magical than it was before.  When I sit down to write in my novel, it flows... like my muse is sitting right next to me telling me the story, and my fingers are typing as fast as the gingerbread man runs.

I find myself resenting distractions that keep me from writing.  I have to remember that those distractions are the very life blood of writing.  Without human interaction, what experience could I draw upon to write these stories?  Without those interruptions to my work, I'm certain I would become stale, lazy, and ungrateful for the times I CAN write.

I once read that writing cannot be created in a vacuum.  And I think it's true.  Great writing is like a diamond, I think.  And the pressures of life and bring it out.

So wish me luck.  I'm crawling into my sailboat, just a little bathtub, and voyaging across the sea of self doubt to reach the Island of story.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll make it there and you'll be able to see what my muse told me.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 5

    I had a lousy night last night.  Didn't sleep well and my stomach was churning.  I'm wondering what I ate that caused that.

    The wife would joke that I'm eating too healthy and my body doesn't know how to handle it.  Considering all the fast food I ate when I was working - it might not be too far from the truth.

    Yesterday I found out that the manager of my department who hired me originally 2.5 years ago has also been given his walking papers.  That shocked me.  Maybe it shouldn't have.  Back when I started, the company I was hired into was a smaller company.  It was kind of like Cheers in the office place, the place where everyone knew your name, and you knew pretty much everyone else.  If you didn't, just stay around long enough and you really will.

    About a year and a half later, fast forward to this past January, our company merged under the umbrella of a larger company, which also merged another 2 offices with our own.  Things changed, slowly, subtly, but quite dramatically now that I look back at it.  We went from being a small group who were almost family to each other to a larger corporation.  We changed from having 3 offices throughout the city to just having 2 and having to merge all these people into 2 locations.  In a few years from now, they plan on merging into on singular location.

    I have nothing against the corporate machine, it's not evil, it's a necessary part of the TSX machine.  It's part of staying competitive in a fierce business world.  I understand that.  However, a part of me feels nostalgic about the company I originally hired into.  It had more heart and was more of a people place.  Until I became part of it, I had never been in an office that was so laid back that even the managers went for lunch with the employees, kicked back and laughed, and didn't mind that we got back to the office at 2 in the afternoon.

    Being a Cad Technologist, I was even amazed at how the drafting staff, often treated as peons in other companies, were incorporated into the planning of various different projects.  Our opinions had mattered as much as the designer's and Engineer's.  I'd never experienced that before and it gave me a certain pride in my work.

    I can't say it's quite the same in the big corporate machine.  Which is understandable when you're merging two vastly different cultures together.  But if I were to punch my ticket for a job that's not my uttermost passion for another 40 or 50 years.   I'd want to be in a place where everyone knows your name.

    Wouldn't you?

    Moving on.

    Yesterday I got 2 calls from 2 different recruiting agencies.  That was exciting.  Now to see what comes of it and who knows?  I could be working in as little as a week.

    Doubtful though.

    It took me 3 months to find a company as wonderful as the one I had worked for, a pay cheque is nice, no matter the amount, but to work for a place you feel proud to be a part of.  Proud to have been chosen....  That can be hard to find sometimes.

    Which is fine - it gives me more time with you!

    So my plan today is a little simpler than yesterday.  I plan on getting some writing done.  I have the bones of a story I've been wanting to write for a while.  I think I'll set pen to electronic paper and see where it goes.

    And this afternoon, there's an elderly lady who's not able to get out of her house, eagerly awaiting her books from the library.  I'll pick those up and drop them off at her place.  And besides that?  We'll see what happens and what the day will bring.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Evening of Day 4

And I - love this more than this more than life

   For the last few days I've had that one line running around in my head, over and over again.  Don't ask me why, I couldn't give you a solid reason.

   It seems to me, ever since I've lost my job, it's given me an opportunity to stand back and reflect on what's most important to me.  I've been a CAD technologist for 12 years.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's just another term for a fancy draftsman.  I've drawn engineering drawings for Civil works for over a decade.  It's not my talent, but it is my skill.  It's not my passion, but it is my vocation.  I've earned a good deal of money for it.  By no means am I Donald Trump, but I live quite comfortably doing what I've been doing.  In the past 5 years I've gotten more migraines than I've ever had.  In fact, in the last 3 months alone, I've had a migraine almost every day.  Some. bad enough that I would go home halfway through the day for fear of being unable to drive when the full force of the migraine finally hit.

   Anyone who's had a migraine knows it's akin to being brain damaged for a few hours.  And indeed, I would come back to work and look at my drafting and wonder WTF I was thinking when I drew that the day before.

     But back to the lyric that's been running in my head.

   Losing my job may have been a godsend.  I've had time to breathe.  To reflect on my life, and appreciate it as it is.  Today, I spent some time writing on here, then exercising, then I took the dog to the vet to get her nails clipped because my wife asked me to.  I took the CRV in to get a chip looked at, because if it could be fixed, it would make my wife very happy.  (it couldn't, alas!)  I went for lunch with Brother in law for the first time.  Just hanging out, him and I.   I moved a wardrobe into a closet space that my wife's been wanting to do for, oh, 3 months now.  And finally, I went to Wal Mart to get groceries so I could have supper ready for my wife when she and her friend were done their work out.

    Nothing momentous.  Nothing world changing.  I didn't create world peace today, nor did I write the next great Canadian novel.  And no - I didn't design an award winning Storm Pond.  However, I found satisfaction in my life.

     I'm serious, I found that I was genuinely happy with my day and that everything I did made things better.  For my wife, and maybe my brother in law.  And most certainly for my dog.

     Allow me to go on a little bit longer...

    When I was a teenager, I was full of passion and wanting to change the world, if not convert the entire known civilization to the cause of Jesus Christ.  Now, I'm 34 and it seems to me that I find God created us for simpler things.  Maybe we all lose sight of that as we run around getting our jobs done and earning our pay cheques.  I live simpler now because I can't afford to spend more, and I realize, I never needed all those things in the first place, they were drowning out the most important things in my life.

     To simply be, to love my wife and my family, and to breathe the air God made and say, "This is good."

     So yes, I'm going to bed tonight after some time with my wife, and fixing the lights on my friend's car and am breathing happily and freely thinking.  "Yes, Today was Very Good."

    And I hope you do too.


Day 4

As of Thursday October 14th, I'm no longer employed.

   It's a weird feeling.  One minute you're sitting at your desk, playing Bloxorz and watching a video and the next your boss comes in and asks you to follow him.  What would you assume?  I thought it was a performance review, or perhaps a new project to start, or maybe I did something and he wants to have a serious talk about it.  When you lose your job, don't you usually get a bit of advance notice?

   I guess not.  I walked into that boardroom and our HR head was there and neither of them looked exactly thrilled about the meeting.  Still, I really didn't think my job was up in the air at the moment.

   I sat down, and this is where my memory gets a little hazy.  At 2:00 on a Thursday afternoon, I wasn't sure what to expect.  "We have some bad news.  Unfortunately we're not getting enough work and we're going to have to let you go."

   Oh good, he subscribes to the band aid approach...  Rip it off.

   Can't say it surprised me, I was fairly calm as well in the face of this dramatic moment.  Do other people cry and wail?  I'm not sure.  He was right though, for months we were scrambling to fill our timesheets with something every week.  If we kept our overhead hours down below 30% a month, we were feeling pretty darn good.

    Unfortunately, there were some weeks that were 100% unbillable hours.  Something had to give.  I had been thinking, for weeks if not months now, that I needed to have an exit strategy in case things hit the fan.  When you own a home, have a wife and a dog, and bills to pay...  You don't want to be caught with your pants down.

    So while the HR lady was giving her spiel and handing me documents, my brain was already thinking and putting my plan in motion.  Maybe that's why I didn't scream, cry and wail.  Nor did I bargain, plead or beg.  It's a business decision, and frankly, I was relieved.  Sitting at your desk doing nothing, is frankly, very exhausting.

     So now I'm among the ranks of Canada's unemployed.  I've filed my EI stuff, got my banking in order.  Cut out a ton of expenses that we don't need and shooting out resumes like a drowning man paddling for shore somewhere in the middle of the Indian ocean.

    Am I scared?  Maybe a little, but it's only day 4, thus far I trust this is just a stepping stone to something better.  After all, God has a plan... and I was sick of being bored.  Now that I'm not working, I'm busier than ever.

    Some people think being without a job is like being on vacation.  Maybe if you got a huge 6 year severance it might be.  I did get a severance, which was quite generous for someone only in the company I was in for 2.5 years.  It's not enough to call it a vacation though.

    And when you go on vacation, you usually have a job to come back home to.  No, I'm working my ass off.  Sending out resumes, doing chores around the house, getting supper ready for when my wife gets home.

   Oh yeah, I'm a househusband now.  And why shouldn't I be?  I'm not bringing home a pay cheque, my wife is.  So in a way, I've got to earn her money.  It's only right.

    I detest men who sit at home when they're jobless.  Going on facebook and playing farmville all day, or firing up their PS3's and playing Medal of Honor while their wives are busting ass bringing home the bacon.  I think it's shallow, callous and a good recipe for a divorce.

    So here's my plan today.  Going to check into Monster and Workopolis.  Then send off a few more resumes.  Workout on the bike and figure out what I'm going to make for supper, I might have to pick up some groceries.  Best to be prepared.

     Then after all that, it should be close to lunch time.  Going to meet my brother-in-law for lunch and drop my CRV with Honda.  There's a damn window chip that needs to be repaired.  I swear, this city has too many missiles being launched on the road at my windshield.  They never last a whole year.

     Oh - yeah the wife wants me to take the dog in to get her nails clipped and by then, I think I'll have to get supper started.  If I'm lucky, I might start washing the windows around the house, and a few other odd chores.

    It's a full day - but hey - it's better than sitting in front of my computer, playing bloxorz, watching videos and trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to fill up my timesheet.