Monday, March 23, 2020

Post 3297 - Shame on Me!


Where have I been? Et cetera.

Well, I have been working hard. Frank keeps me busy. And in recent weeks I have been dealing with the house in the Valley, which has been sold. "Sold" is a relative term. I have accepted an offer, and the closing date is the end of April. Big move out of the stuff I'm keeping will be shortly before that.

That is assuming that the world doesn't end before that. My goodness, the Covid-19 story grows worse by the day. Paid half attention to it as it swept through China and then Europe.

To give you one brief example of how much things change, and how quickly: my editor and I read the paper a week ago Thursday, where it stated that the buses in Halifax could be called off the roads. We both scoffed at that, thinking that there was no way that this could ever happen. I wrote as much on Facebook.

Well, today, March 23, Metro Transit cut back its service by 30%. And nobody is saying that the service will not be eliminated.

Every day, the number of people who can be together at once became ever smaller. Bars could have 150 people in them, max. Then 100. Then 50. Social distancing was introduced. Bus service became free last...Wednesday, I think it was, not that it mattered because by then we were working from home and therefore did not need the bus.

Now, we can only have groups of five together at once. The province declared a State of Emergency on the 22nd, and now we get conflicting messages as to whether it is safe to go for a walk, or whether we should, as Parker Donham says, "Stay the F*** Home!", even though he himself attended a play upon a recent return home from abroad, rather than self-isolating.

What has been happening here has been breath taking in its speed  and efficiency. I can't get over it. And it is far from over.

The day may yet come, in the next week or so, when we literally cannot leave our homes, not even to get groceries or meds. We have not made a run on toilet paper, but we are well stocked for provisions should the feces hit the fan.

Uh, what else? Not much. Just living. Working. Trying to get through the days, and trying to absorb the dizzying pace at which things are changing in this world. It is not an easy thing to do.

I feel very badly that I haven't written much lately. I hereby resolve to write something more often. I like the idea of writing a log, a blog, a diary, a something, of the extraordinary events that are happening now, and how they affect you. If nothing else, this blog can become that, for a time.

Let's do that, starting tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Post 3296 - Back from the wilderness!

Hello again, my friends. I missed you.

Where have I been?

Mostly, working. Frank keeps me busy, which I'm not complaining about. But it leads to the following: What does the fisherman eat for supper? In my case, how difficult would it be for me to write something here on the blog when I had spent the whole day writing and researching stuff?

As it turns out, quite difficult.

But I am going to persevere here. I am going to write something more often. As often as I can.

A few highs and lows the last few weeks. About 3 weeks ago I ate lunch some place downtown. The next day, I felt awful. Flu-like symptoms, one of which was vomiting. I puked at work and had to reluctantly take a sick day. Patricia drove downtown to pick me up, and I promptly puked in the car. When we got home, I went right to bed and slept the rest of the day away.

I have been going to the archives lately. Not as much as I could, but quite often. It is nice to be able to go there during a work day.

Patricia has taken on part time work at Otis & Clementines. The schedule is ad hoc. It is the used bookstore where there are the cats. Since that story ran a couple of months ago, it has been picked up across the United States and even in Greece. Good for business.

The Valley house? There may be some news on that in the next little while. I am thinking good thoughts on this. Please think them with me.

I am going to draw this post to a close. I have some other things to do, and 5:30 comes mighty early.

See you soon. I hope... tomorrow?


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Post 3295 - Where Have I Been? What Have I Been Up To?

Yeah, pretty much says it all.

32 years ago this month, I got on one of those Van Pools, the overpriced van that transported folks from the Valley to Halifax, and then back home again, and began a short-term work assignment. I had just completed my studies at Acadia University. I could not graduate until May of 1988. I had the Winter term to find a job.

In theory, it was a leg up for me. I could find a gig while my fellow students were still studenting away. By the time I could graduate in May, along with them, I might be working away. That was the theory.

The practice of it was that I was ill-prepared to begin my working... let's go with the word "career". Sounds more professional and pre-thought out.

The job that Acadia lined up for me was at a government department. I barely knew where that building was, so poor was my knowledge of the city of Halifax. I can't even quite remember where the van dropped me off at.

The whole while I was working there I was applying for full time work. I would walk around during my lunch hour and try to figure out where things were, relative to where I was. The buildings all looked so tall, so foreboding, and the apprehension I felt twisted my heart and made me feel sick inside. I had never been so frightened in my life. A hick kid from the Valley moving to the big city. 75 minutes or so from my parents' driveway, but it may as well have been the dark side of the moon.

By my birthday I had signed a contract to work for a company in town. Twenty-three thousand dollars per annum. Not a pile of money, even then, but I could get by on it.

My fears worsened. The knot in my gut got tighter and tighter. And I feared for my future. That fear, that anxiety, that worry, is something I inherited from my father, who was the king of all worry warts.

I did get through it, as you know. It was not easy. But I got through it. And I have always figured that if I could do it, if I could persevere in whatever thing I happened to try, or was allowed to try as in the case of my years in government, then I did not have much patience for those who could not measure up. Call it a prejudice. Call it me being a stinker. It doesn't matter.

Well, I retired from that line of work at the end of December, 2019. I am trying something else now, which is being a writer and reporter for Frank Magazine. After this short a period of time, the apprehension is not what it was for me in 1988, but after trying something so new at this point in my life, then I know that I have a lot to learn. And not to sound too much like Donald Rumsfeld, I know there are things I don't know. The Socratic paradox, that I know that I know nothing, also applies.

All I can do is keep at it. Learn stuff incrementally. I know more now than I did this time last week. I can only expect that by this time next week, I will have learned more. In six months time, I hope to look back on January of 2020 with some degree of embarrassment over all the stuff I did not know about my new job.

As for my old job: I get my final government pay cheque this Thursday. It will contain the pay for the last days of December (seven, I think) plus the pay out for the last of my vacation. And last week Patricia and I both got a letter from the Nova Scotia Pensions Agency, spelling out how much we can expect to receive for our pension payments every month. Between my Frank income and my pension income, I will be on par with what I was making before I retired. I may even be a few dollars ahead of the game.

So, anyway, I am fine. But I do find that at the end of the day, after spending it writing and researching or what have you, there it not much tiger left in the tank to write a blog post. I do hope that this situation changes soon, but I cannot make any guarantees.

How about this, then: I will produce a blog post as often as I can. That may be once a week, or twice, or more often. But I will try harder. I miss you guys. And I hope you miss me.

See you... soon?