Don’t try this at home

Last week, on one of my regular walking routes, I noticed that a row of houses under construction was very close to being finished – on the outside, at least. Sod had been laid, a few bushes had been planted, and the house exteriors looked good.

Except for the front doors. They didn’t look very good. They obviously needed painting.

Then, the next time I took a walk on that particular route, I saw a painting company van parked in front of those houses. Ah, I thought. They are going to paint the front doors. I wonder what colours they’ll use?

As I got closer, I suddenly understood HOW they were planning to paint the doors. They were planning to spray paint them. On the newly laid grass in front of each house. There were several sets of two large pails placed upside down on the grass, and a door had been laid on top of each set of two pails. The sides of each door, the handles, the locks, the windows and everything else that didn’t need to be painted were carefully masked.

Now, note what I haven’t mentioned here: no covering for the new grass. Apparently, these yahoo painters were going to spray paint the doors right on the grass, with absolutely no protection for the grass. Yes, I know that grass is pretty hardy stuff and although it looks awful when it’s got overspray all over it, grass is generally none for the worse and does come back quite healthily. Still … why would anyone do this??

Today I walked past those houses again. The newly painted doors of dark red, dark blue and dark green have been installed and look quite fabulous. But the grass? At this point, not so fabulous.

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And these guys got paid to do this??

Just a few items …

So, what’s been going on with me lately (besides the fact that I haven’t been posting any blog entries)?

Well, for starters …

The water pump on my car died, leaving me stranded in the middle of an intersection trying to turn left. I eventually got the car started long enough to actually park it in the carpark that I was trying to get to. Later, I managed to limp home to my garage. I had to get the car towed to my dealership for the repairs – that was a first for me! And after four days of driving my mother’s car, my car was all fixed and I was 1200$ poorer. Yes, you read that right: the towing charge and the repair costs came out to just under 1200$! I had no idea that water pumps for BMWs were so spendy. Now my brakes are intermittently squeaky, and the service advisor told me that the best was to get rid of the squeaks for once and for all was to replace the brake pads and maybe the rotors. Uh – no thanks, not at this time. I’ll put up with the noise for now.

I decided that I wanted new glasses, despite the fact that I wear contacts all the time. I’ve just seen so many cool frames on so many different people, so I thought that I’d like to have the option to wear some nice glasses sometimes, particularly in the evenings after I remove the contacts for the night. Well, my optometrist informed me that I was now in progressive lens territory, and those can cost a fair bit. I found a pair of frames that I absolutely love, so I decided to go for it. That “fair bit” ended up being about 800$, which I didn’t really mind, because at least now I’ll have them for many years (my prescription hasn’t changed in like a decade, so I’m thinking positively!). But wow, am I ever having a time getting used to progressive lenses! I’m trying to wear them for a few hours each evening, and they’re so weird! I can’t seem to situate the frames in the correct spot on my nose so that the distance part of the lenses is right in front of my eyes, then when I figure that out, I have trouble finding the right area for close-up vision. Then I’m having issues with turning my head to look directly at whatever I want to actually see, because if I don’t, the image is kind-of wavy and distorted and a bit blurry. They did caution me that even with regular nightly attempts of at least several hours, that it would take me around two weeks to adjust, but I just don’t know. I intend to persevere, but I only have 60 days if I want to return them. I hope that’s long enough for me to get used to them!

DD had her 28th birthday early this month, and to celebrate, I booked a downtown hotel room for us one Friday night and then I took her shopping for clothes – her birthday present from me – on Saturday. We had a blast, as usual, and she was quite satisfied with all the clothes she chose. Except for the shoes. She only got two pairs. Apparently ALL her shoes are in tatters, so really, she needs more than just two pairs. And a new bag for her laptop. She REALLY needs one of those, as her current one is also in tatters and she’s afraid her laptop will one day fall out of it. But the one she REALLY wants is from an American on-line shop, and the shipping charge to Canada is almost more than the cost of the bag, so she hasn’t ordered it. I guess she was hoping I would?

DD got her first year law exam marks back. She did well – I think. She’s a little disappointed, because she was hoping to do even better, but realistically, she said she scored pretty much where she thought she’d be. However, she had to defer one of her exams because she was so sick the day she was supposed to write it at the end of April, so she’ll be writing that one in July and still has a chance to increase her GPA. She tells me that even these first year marks are extremely important for her future standing in terms of articling offers from big law firms upon graduation, so she’s quite motivated. Okay, DD – go forth and study!

DD also got one of the summer jobs that she applied for – the one that is located at her university and was apparently quite coveted by many law students. It wasn’t the one that paid the most of all the jobs she applied for, but it seems to be the one with the most cachet, something that she can proudly add to her résumé. I’m so happy for her, because over the past four years, she’d applied for SO many jobs and had SO many interviews, but she was never hired. She was frequently told that she was the “back-up” candidate for the job, meaning that she was well-qualified, but someone else had a little something extra, so if that someone else turned the job down, it would be offered to DD. Unfortunately, that never happened. But she’s now making decent money for the whole summer – along with taking one course. She’ll be busy, but she’s happier when she has a lot to do. And when she’s happy, I’m happy (it’s a mom thing!).

And recently, I’ve developed some pain in my left shoulder. It’s starting to feel the way my right shoulder felt two years ago before I had countless hours of chiropractic treatments and therapeutic massage and dry needling to help it move without pain again: it’s always stiff and painful to lift my left arm out to the side, it hurts big-time to do a yoga plank, and sometimes, when I’m not doing much of anything, it’s just plain achy. I’m getting concerned, and I don’t want to leave it so that it gets as hurty as the right shoulder eventually did. So I have made an appointment with the physiotherapist who helped me so much with the dry needling back then. Unfortunately, she can’t see me and my sore shoulder for another two weeks. I guess a lot of other people think she’s good, too. So I’ve cut way down on working out on the machines at my gym and I’m trying to regularly do a few of the exercises that she gave me to do last time. I just don’t understand why this shoulder thing is happening again. PG says it’s how I sleep. I say, don’t you worry about how I sleep, Mr Salmon-swimming-upstream-in-his-sleep!

Yep, that’s some of what I’ve been doing when I’ve not been writing here.

Now, aren’t you glad you know???

Hanging out on the corner

Like most schools in Canada, every September my school does what is known as the Terry Fox run to raise money for cancer research. The run takes place during that month because when Terry Fox had to stop his own run in September 1980 because his cancer had returned, he said that although he had to stop, he expected all Canadians to pick up where he left off and to continue raising money.

This past September, however, BC schools were closed most of the month due to the teachers’ strike, so there was no run. However, my school made the decision to do our run this month, because Terry began his run back in April 1980, so we thought it made just as much sense to do it in April as it does to do it in September.

There are a large number of new people working at my school this year, including our administrators, so we had a staff meeting to talk about how we would do our run. We ended up deciding to run our usual route along the streets of our neighbourhood, inviting parents and caregivers to come along with us. Non-enrolling staff members (like me) and teachers who can’t run or even walk with their students for various reasons (like the late stages of pregnancy) are asked to stand at a few corners along the route, ensuring that everybody goes where they are supposed to go.

I was actually the person who brought that last point up.

“And any staff members who can’t run, plus us non-enrolling teachers, we’re stationed at various corners along the way, to direct the kids and make sure they run along the side of the road and not on peoples’ lawns,” I said. “We’re the – the corner workers!”

The room erupted into laughter. I didn’t get it right away.

One of our teachers with a VERY quick wit then clarified it for me: “And you’ll be wearing your mini-skirt and stilettos?”

Ah. THAT’S why everyone was laughing.

“No, no,” I sputtered. “It’s an auto racing term! You know, corner workers! The guys who stand at the corners of the race track with the flags! The guys who come running out if there’s a crash or a car needs a push or something!”

imagesNo one seemed to believe me.

Don’t ANY of my colleagues know ANYTHING about auto racing?!

Apparently not.

So, the afternoon of my school’s Terry Fox run, there I was, standing at my corner in my yoga pants, hoodie, and ever-so-stylish fluorescent orange vest, directing and encouraging the kids as they ran or, in the case of many of the younger ones, walked by. And when that teacher with the VERY quick wit came past, there was another comment tossed my way: “Getting any business there?”

Uh – no.

I guess I wasn’t showing enough leg.