Regina Redux

First of all, can I just say that e-check-ins are the best thing ever. That and no checked baggage. I am never checking baggage again. It’s so simple – you just get off the plane and go out of the airport. Even if, in future, I have to transport a body, I’m calling it a homoncophone and bringing it carry-on as a musical instrument.

Also, security’s still a little hinky. OK to wear my belt and boots in Vancouver and Calgary, but not Calgary on the way back. Contact lens solution goes in the little baggie in Vancouver, but not in Calgary, where they tell me my mascara has to be bagged. No one made me stay to test my birth control pills, so that was all right.

Regina: A balmy -15 at the coldest, so that was okay. Can I just say, though, those folks know about insulation. Compared to them, Vancouverites are like bears wandering in and out of drafty caves.

E’s 14-month-old nephew. Nickname, Kun-kun. Very cute, into everything, and so doted upon by both grandparents that there was an unprecedented amount of breathing room for me to read. Except at naptime.

E’s parents continue to be hilarious and baffling to me. They speak constantly but never seem to be listening to one another/whoever they are talking to. Example:

E’s Mom: Who’s going in the taxi?
E’s Bro: Me and Annette and Kun-kun.
E’s Dad: But we…haven’t called it yet. (He pauses in the middle of sentences sometimes.)
E’s Mom: Well, Eric and Liz could go in the taxi. Bill, where are your keys?
E’s Bro: I called a cab. We’ll get the cab and meet you there.
E’s Dad: Are Benj and Annette taking Kun-kun in the taxi?
E’s Mom: Bill, do you have your keys?
E’s Bro: Yes. Annette and I are taking Kun-kun in the taxi.
E’s Dad: We could drive in, ah, two shifts.
E’s Bro: The cab will be here in about twenty minutes.
E’s Dad: I wonder where my keys are. We could go three in one trip and three and Kun-kun in another trip. Or maybe we can fit three in the back seat.
E’s Mom: Are Eric and Liz going in the taxi?
E’s Dad: No…I think…wait. Maybe they are. Have you seen my keys?

Etc.

Also, E’s mom was mortified that neither E or I like Christmas cake. We took a couple of pieces to be polite, but then felt our duty was done. And yet she kept serving it. After every meal! We kept politely declining. When pressed, we confessed that neither of us cared for it. She kept lamenting, “Oh, this is a terrible Christmas for you!” (Baked-goods-wise, it was. The other dessert option was shortbread that had I thinkbaking powder in it. That may have been the most puzzling thing of all.)

Another weird thing: E’s mom kept deferring to my expertise in making a turkey dinner. She kept on exclaiming how difficult it must be to cook for 12, 0r 15, or 20 people. I tried to explain that there are three or four people in the kitchen when we cook for the orphans, and we all keep an eye on timing things and who does what. Was she intimidated by the fact that my friends and I can cook in bulk? I did wonder why she wanted to wait until the turkey was out of the oven to begin boiling the potatoes, but managed to hurry her up a bit on that. Potatoes can wait for turkey, but not the other way around. Also, I bulked up the gravy when she wasn’t looking. A half-cup of gravy just isn’t going to stretch to six adults, no matter how frugal we’re being.

E and I are back home now, in our drafty bear’s den, exhausted but unscathed.

Prepped.

I’m not packed yet, but I’m almost at the end of the list I’ve run through to get ready for Christmas in Regina.

House: Floors clean. Bathroom clean. Clutter cleared. Laundry done. A nice place for us to come home to, since I’m going to treat our homecoming day as my holiday time. I get a day of no demands. I demand that!

Entertainment: New York Times crosswords and romance novels. Keepin’ it light, on purpose. I almost grabbed a copy of ‘Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town’, but thought it might encourage E’s mom to buy me more Literature. Deliberately lowbrow is the way forward.

Gifts: Bought, but not yet wrapped. Oh, and thanks, TSA, for prohibiting me bringing some jam to E’s parents. My cooking is sometimes erratic, but it’s never been a terrorist weapon.

Warm Stuff: Vintage boiled wool coat, warmest scarf, and tea cosy hat at the ready. Boots need a bit of a polish.

Toiletries and Meds: This is a damn minefield these days, isn’t it? Is mascara a liquid or a gel? Are they going to make me prove that my birth control pills are birth control? How? I stand there, and over a nine month period, do not produce a baby? Am I going to be pulled out of line and aggressively fondled searched because I have a couple of antihistamines in my wallet, because I sometimes have weird histamine reactions? Won’t that be fun. Are they going to taste my contact lens solution?

I may update before the festive 25th, but if not, I wish everyone a happy, stress-free Christmas. Cheers, folks. If the only stress I have is that things annoy me, I still have it pretty good. Right? Right.

Less stress and more Christmas spirit to you all. And to all, a goodnight.

The Season.

I thought I was avoiding Holiday Mood Disorder but it turns out I was just in denial.

I’ve pared down Christmas prep to the minimum this year. I can’t pack my traditions in my carry-on and head to Regina, so I’m just going to gently let them be. Christmas 2010 will just be what it is. But I am going to post a Regina Review. I can’t not review.

At first I blamed welling up in tears ten times a day on the fact that it has been a hard week for me. But then I realized that I wasn’t just upset about the hard week. I’m also crying at:

Beautiful photographs my friends post on Flickr

The thought of growing to hate car jockeying, as I lose more and more freedom to do it my way

E’s brother’s astonishing self-absorption and how sad it makes E

Pictures of kittens on the Internet

My students who are decamping for Korea

I’m not going to put myself deep in debt for Christmas. Call that my gift to myself. But can I think of what to get E? No! Bo? No!

It seems I can save myself the debt, but still feel I’m falling flat on my own expectations of myself. I don’t know how to change that.

The Libel-Free Version

Rock Boss no longer works for the company. Realistically, this means a number of his minions, me included, may not be working for the Co-Op for much longer. I can’t speak for the other jockeys, but I will clamber through sleet and snow, get my hands covered in wheelwell grease, and get up when it’s still dark out if I am loyal to the person giving my marching orders. When I resent and distrust the giver of orders? Not so much. (Sorry if this is sensitive to my underemployed readers.)

I called Rock Boss with a routine report on Monday morning, and he informed me that he was tendering his resignation, effective immediately.

“But you’re the best boss in the world!” I cried. Which, as far as I know, is true. Rock Boss personifies the Co-Op spirit. He was flexible about my schedule, appreciative of the work his minions do, and consistently has lobbied for better pay/benefits/etc for us. He has never minded when I say, “I’ll take care of that after I teach. Can you extend the booking?” And if, for some reason, he can’t, I bust my ass to make it happen. Loyalty pays.

He built great relationships with people we need – mechanics, glass guys, the body shop. Because of his easy attitude, he saved the Co-Op money in labour time and parts. Those relationships are now either quite strained, or in tatters, and it is not his fault in the least.

I feel the whole situation could have been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction with a few, small steps, much before it came to this. But it didn’t. And despite Rock Boss’s willingness to cooperate, in the end, it just wasn’t enough.

On the other hand, it’s 10:45 on the night before I’m supposed to wake early to do the cars, and I have not yet received the email telling me what cars to get. Perhaps my contract position has already been reassigned.

Update: 7:15AM Friday: No email from new boss or the company. Nothing.

Radio Ga-ga.

Thrift stores were the way forward. Today I brought in a clock radio from the SPCA (three bucks! Thanks, SPCA!) and tuned it to CBC Radio 2.

Early reports from kids are that it’s pleasant and soothing to work with music in the room. I’m delighted.

The Spirit of Radio

I have wanted a radio for my classroom for a long time. I think it’ll be relaxing for kids to listen to music as they work. I’ve been looking, but everything was either too big or too fancy. I want a radio like my first one, that was basically a box with a dial for volume and a dial for tuning. I want it simple and unassuming so that it’s not a physical distraction for kids.

Can I find that? No. I can find clock radios and stereos that also dock iPods and miniature orchestras that also make omelets (ok not really) but I cannot find a simple radio.

The other day I grumbled my way to Shoppers and compromised on a clock radio, thinking, well, it’s cheap, anyway.

Somehow karma failed me, because I tried to plug it in, and even on the lowest volume setting it was WAY TOO LOUD. LOUDER THAN MY SPEAKING VOICE.

I want to soothe kids, not scare them.

So, back to looking. Maybe secondhand stores are the answer.

Watching Harry Potter With E.

Ok. I loved the hell out of the first part of the last movie. I will even go along with their insane cash grab and watch the final part. But this isn’t about me and the extreme nerdery that causes me to love these books and movies so ardently.

This is about E. He has not read the books. He is sometimes baffled and I have to explain things to him, because the movies cut parts out and there isn’t time for exposition, and how is he to know that there are Weasley brothers that haven’t been on screen before? Or the sets change, and I know that’s Hagrid’s cottage, because I know what’s going to happen, but E is thrust into an unknown landscape. Also, I sometimes preemptively start crying when I know a sad bit is coming, and he doesn’t understand.

But he still sees them with me. I have offered time and again to go alone and save him the confusion, but he goes. He enjoys the movies, but I know he also gets a kick out of my reactions.

Nine years ago, we sat in the movie theatre seeing Hogwarts on the screen for the very first time, its windows glowing through the darkness. I turned to him to whisper, ‘It’s perfect!’ But he was already looking at me, smiling at my bug-eyed bliss.

Happy belated anniversary, E. Thanks for sticking, even through the parts where you don’t have the back-story.

Good/Bad

I’ve been in a hazy funk all day. Sometimes on the board I post on, we do good/bad threads, to try and put it all in perspective. I’m putting mine here, in an attempt to de-funk. But first the bad, then the good. To end on a positive note.

Bad

I want a bath. We do not have a bathtub. I am seriously considering taking Upstairs Liz up on her offer to use their tub.

Sleeplessness. Anxiety. Waking up at 6AM because everything is screaming towards the front of my skull and then running around in circles going HEYHEYHEYHEYHEYHEYPAYATTENTIONTOMEEEEEE.

Losing Students: I hate it. Everyone knows I get attached to anyone who stays in my sphere of reference for any time. Now Winter Break is coming up and it means loads of students, including several I have real affection for, are going back to the grindstone.

My family: Misanthrope dad, brother who has to hawk his ass at the Philosophy convention to get a job but there aren’t any, and cancer-ridden aunt. Said aunt’s son, my favourite cousin. Sheesh.

Good

A morning off tomorrow to sort out banking, bill paying, and buying a new sewing machine pedal. Maybe more drugs for the cat.

Knowing I am going to be seeing the Harry Potter movie sometime soon.

ESL class in January means more money to pay for things like dentist appointments and trips to Paris.

Paris. It’s amazing how many flat tires I can change, and batteries I can jump-start with rainwater seeping through my jeans and running down my head in rivulets, knowing that there’s a week in April coming up where I will be in Europe.

My beautiful students, with their funny questions and discussions, big and small successes. I hope they know how hard I root for them.

Ok. Better. Anyone else want to do a good/bad?

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