And now, it’s time for part three of my personal recap of 2009. Today’s synopsis: July through September.
This month started fairly boringly. Canada Day was supposedly a day off. Instead I was sent to Loon Lake, Sask. to take photos of the Canada Day parade, and do a Conversation with someone. Somehow working on a day when everyone else is off does not seem to me like a day off, does it? But I did manage to use the time I had after I got back from Loon Lake to put up my curtains in my apartment. Finally. From May 25 when I moved in, I had a blanket pinned to the window frame, which left a 30 cm wide section of the window uncovered, which meant people could look in my window whenever they wanted. Plus, I had to keep my couch away from the wall so I could hide stuff behind it. Once I put up the curtains, I had considerably more floor space, what with my couch back up against the wall. July continued fairly well. I took advantage of a weekend off to go kayaking for the first time on July 5. I had never done it before, so it was something I wanted to try. It was fun. Although I wasn’t able to go out in a solo kayak (Meadow Lake Provincial Park only had tandem kayaks), it was still good. In fact, it was better I was in a tandem kayak, because I had the girl who ran the kayaking to help me paddle when I got tired. Plus, since we were together in one kayak, we could move quicker and get off the water when the weather started to turn sour. You can read more about my kayaking excursion in the post I posted about it. I think I was managing to negotiate my emotional funk, especially when I started counting down the days to the two week vacation the paper takes every summer. For some reason the paper shuts down. Not that I’m complaining. In fact, I was stoked. It was a chance to get out of town for a while. But where would I go? Good thing that had already been more or less worked out ahead of time. For reasons I still don’t fully understand, I had been invited to go out to Alberta in general and Jasper in particular to scope out wedding sites for Brandy’s wedding. Again, I’m still not too sure why I was invited, but there’s no way I’m going to say no to a chance to get out of Meadow Lake. So away I went. Edmonton (my first stop) is fairly far from Meadow Lake. It’s about a four to five hour drive. And I will repeat this again and again: West Edmonton Mall is needlessly huge. Anyway. Next stop was Devon, just southwest of Edmonton, where Brandy and her parents lived (being the operative word here) to stay until we left for Jasper for the weekend (and by weekend I mean we arrived on Saturday in mid- to late-afternoon and left Sunday shortly before 4.00pm). So what did I (and we) do in Edmonton before we hit Jasper? A few things. We saw a play in William Hawrelak Park along the North Saskatchewan River. The play was A Comedy of Errors for those who were wondering. This was on the Thursday when I arrived. On the Friday, the big event was going to the Taste of Edmonton, where I met one of Brandy’s friends, the one who ended up as the Maid of Honour. And then it was off to Jasper. It’s a quaint little town in the Alberta Rockies. If you’ve never been, I highly encourage going. It’s very, very beautiful. And I haven’t even mentioned the mountains directly, yet. They are amazing. On a clear day, they are just plain spectacular. There is no way to properly describe their size, other than to say you don’t understand how big they are until you’re on top of one. Which, sadly, is something we did not manage to do. We could have done so, but not at 28,00 $ a person to ride the Jasper Tramway. Oh well. And in a way, a good thing too. It was getting late, so we grabbed lunch and managed to get out of Jasper National Park in enough time to avoid being delinquents who abused our privilege to be in the park. Not really, but we did get out later than what would have been ‘ideal.’ After a nice drive, we were back in Devon and I had the opportunity to meet a few more of Brandy’s friends. But by this time I was starting to feel sad, knowing that I would have to go back to Meadow Lake the next day. And I didn’t want to leave. So we went for a walk so I would have one last chance to spend some time away from having to go back, knowing full well I was just delaying the inevitable. The walk was good. We went into the North Saskatchewan River valley in Devon, and just talked about things. And then we got back and it was time to get going. But I didn’t make it easy for me. Just like I did in June, but in full view of people who seemed to care (as opposed to random airplane passengers), I bawled. And when I think about it, it’s funny because it wasn’t even my house or my family I was leaving. But it’s hard to leave somewhere where people seem to care. But this is where you learn who your friends are. From what I have learned, your friends are the ones who will let you cry, to let it out. And then I left. I had to. Even though her mom offered to let me stay longer (to which I think Brandy shot her mom a dirty look), I had to go. So I did. At least after I got back I still had a week before work started, so I had a chance to collect myself. It didn’t happen. It was the beginning of the end.
To be honest, compared to July, August was nothing special at all. I kid you not. How ‘unspecial’ was it? So unspecial the only thing I remember about it is meeting Miss K. near the end of the month. I’m serious. All I did in August was work and sleep. Oh, and have trouble sleeping in the morning because I had this feeling of dread and fear in the pit of my stomach. Work was feeling more and more like a toxic environment. My only motivation was the fear of failure. And last time I checked, that’s not healthy. I was getting closer and closer to wanting out. I was trying to hack it, but everything just wasn’t going at all well. Friends were hard to come by. As in: people my age virtually did not exist in Meadow Lake. I was lonely. And as much as sending and receiving letters helps keep contact, it’s not the same as being face to face with the people with whom you are comfortable. So I was getting closer and closer to giving up and getting out of there. Little did I know I would receive the impetus to act in short order.
The month started rather uneventfully. And then everything just fell apart in a way. Sept. 8 saw me be pulled into the boss’s office for a chat. Apparently one of my stories didn’t measure up to the standards I was never given. (Okay, that doesn’t make much sense. Here’s what it means: My work was held up to a set of standards. But these standards were never articulated to me. Thus, it’s hard to meet unknown standards.) And I was told that if I don’t start (doing something I don’t completely recall), the paper was going to have to find someone who will. Well, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I’m already not enjoying myself here, and now you’re going to more or less fire me. Fine. I’ll just beat you to the punch. I won’t write much more about this in this public forum, but I did do up a little piece on it over on my FB. Read it for more on the topic. So six days after I was served with ‘shape up or we’ll ship you out,’ I filed my two weeks’ notice. Except instead of two weeks, it was more like several hours’ notice. And with that I was unemployed and plotting how to get home. And also with that I was no longer receiving a paycheque. And I like money. But it’s a price you pay when you quit. And I guarantee you there was no pun intended. But, one benefit to come from not working was I had more time to go to the elementary school where Miss K works, to read with the kids in her class. They’re Grade 1 kids, so their reading skills are less than stellar. But it was fun. And I got to help them with numbers. That took a bit more work. Did you know that fourteen is written ‘41’? If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Think about it.
Stay tuned for part four: October through December. Coming tomorrow.