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Chancer Blog

Here’s my helper, writing outside on New Year’s Eve morning. The power is out, but is it? It is really?

 

This marks my fifth Christmas here, I can hardly believe it myself. I’m still stopped in my tracks in amazement all the time, the things that you never get used to. It’s important to feel wonder at everyday things.

I’m doing a cleanse to mark the end of this year. I feel I need to shed it all off of me, glean what I can use and discard the rest. I’m not doing the type of cleanse that makes you shit out a wagon wheel you had in grade four. It’s a different type of voiding.

I started by removing a few people from my facebook. It was so exhilarating, I went in a took off a few more. I went back a few days later to sweep up a few stragglers. I’m not done, but I’m done for now.

It’s not that I don’t like them, or that I lost interest, but I also did lose interest. I just really feel like I need to move forward. Many of the people I removed pay little to no attention to me anyhow, so I doubt a lot of them even noticed.

Some of them were dead, and that’s a strange sensation, removing the people who are no longer here. Many of these ‘friends’ are people I remember as a teenage and snow they are grandparents. It’s nice to connect and catch up but that’s enough. You know where I am if you need me.

I like my life and often feel distracted by what others are projecting, your kids or grandkids or your holiday. Yeah, it’s nice but I’m trying to focus more on my own life. Not what I project it to be, the real one.

I cleared out all my emails, too. Some were there from people who are no longer alive. There were a few that popped up while mass deleting from my job this past year. It was a strange sensation, to see them.

The company use a cartoon-like character that is red and looks really angry. It always bothered me, to open an email and see this angry face. Did they think it was helping? I used to get stressed each time I saw it, and I am truly relieved I don’t have to see it any longer.

I had an interesting flood of reaction to it, and none of it was pleasant. As much as I miss the weekly payday, I really don’t miss the job. It’s made me more determined to become more self-self-sufficient without the aid of agencies or these writing mills that are just factories.

I’m taking a page or two out of the Book of Cat. They are content and feel none of the stress of not knowing where the next meal is coming from. They know exactly where it’s coming from. The cupboard beside the stove.

Jang hands

Absolute purfection. Look how he crosses his hands.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first moved here, and frankly, I still don’t. But every year is still a wonder and a marvel and I love it. Not every second, but I’m pleased that I’ve been able to live here and function and I’m sitting outside in the warmth.

My power has been out for about three hours already and I love that my neighbours a few doors down are using their precious generator power to blast music. It’s New Year’s Eve, so what if it’s not yet noon? That’s how we roll here.

I’m making some changes and taking what I’ve learned to move forward. I can do that. I’m changing the way I think about things, the language I use, (not the swears and stuff, I’m keeping that) and deeming myself worthy.

I certainly learned a lot this past year. About myself, about friends, like who is and isn’t. About how to survive and that I admire myself a lot more than I give myself credit for.

I’m at the end and the beginning. I’m reset to 000 and starting again, but better.

Here’s to shedding the old and finding the new.

2018, you sashay away.

Merry Tuesday

If you celebrate, if not, just have a Tuesday. I’m ignoring as much as I can about this season. Last year sucked a lot, and I swore it would be better this year. The middle of the year got marginally better, as I had a regular (mostly) payday, but I hated earning it.

This year I’m broke and just hovering at zero, but at least I’m not crying and thinking about killing myself and the cats. That was really difficult. So, in a sense, it is better this year. The mood, but not the situation.

Many years ago, when I moved to Vancouver and it was too far to participate in regular Christmas traditions, insomuch as my family had them, this season became so much easier. After my mother passed, my dad and I claimed we didn’t care if we had a Christmas or not.

It was kind of like when you and someone else are expressing yourselves and both say it at the same time. My dad and I did that. ‘I don’t give a shit’ ‘Whew’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Yes’ ‘Whew’ ‘Me, too’ ‘Well, I’m glad we had this talk’ ‘You hang up first’.

it was so much easier after that. I didn’t have to spend a shitload of money I didn’t have and be happy about a bunch of crap I was receiving that only proved after X amount of years, my parents had no idea who I was.

I thought about this past year and I had a few really good days, a few weeks and even months, in fact. If there is anything I have learned from life and these forced holidays are enjoy the good when it’s there. It won’t always be.

I decided that those days a few months ago when I had money and was drinking wine on my balcony and my cats had tuna were enough to carry me through this stupid season. Why does it have to be dictated when I can enjoy myself?

When I had income, I bought a large bag of cat food, but not for my cats. I carry some with me and when I see a stray dog or cat, which is always, I give it to them. I often buy a can of dog food, just to have on me for these poor souls, as well.

My Tuesday is okay, today. I still have a bit of food in the house, the cats are fed and it’s a beautiful day here. I can hear music and people celebrating and I am always acutely aware there are always people worse off than I am.

Happy Tuesday, from Jango, Chance and me.

 

JangoChanceMee

 

 

 

Customer Service This!

It’s really just annoying and boring, all at the same time. This past week or so saw me call to change my password, just to have the internet stop working. The modem was fine, my computer was fine, but whatever Juan did at his end made it stop working.

 

He insisted that he did everything right. He insisted it was my computer. I tried to explain that I was already connected to the internet with my other modem. He wasn’t hearing me. I got fed up and told him to just cancel the service.

But of course it’s never that easy, is it? He said I had to take it to one of the major offices, return the equipment and cancel it all from there.

Sigh

One of the offices is in a mall, where I initially got connected, but it’s in a mall. it’s also two cars, which means, two public cabs. Normally I’mm all over that but I’ve been sick the past couple of weeks and was in no mood.

I decided on the office I originally wrote about, as it’s closer and I can walk. It’s a long walk but what the heck. I’ve been sick in the apartment for a few weeks.

The first thing she did was test the modem, even though I told her it was fine. Then she showed me how she could get online using said modem, all of which I believed. At one point she just got up and left and stood chatting to the woman at the reception desk. A woman, by the way, who was clearly about three minutes pregnant and stood rubbing her belly and her back. There were also pictures of a fetus scan plastered at all the desks, but I digress.

After about a half an hour, they sent me packing, complete with my modem. There was a nearly $300 fine for cancelling the service, even though I have had the service for three years.  Also, slow customer service where you are sitting down in air conditioning is absolutely fine. Take your time. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

I tried to call a few more times but instead of transferring me to the English speaking Juan, they just hung up on me.

This morning, fed up, I sed the translator and wrote out a message of my dilemma, popped in a liquor store bag, of course I did, and simply dropped it on the kiosk counter where I pay the bill.

Sister was staring at her phone, of course she was, so I dropped it on the counter and just fucked off.  But seriously? What’s she going to do? Come tearing out of her kiosk to tackle me and make me take the modem back? No.

Problem solved.

 

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Adventures in Internet

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A few months back, my internet wasn’t working. The lights were on, but as the kids say, no one was home. I wasn’t too concerned, as it’s not common, but not uncommon, either. This was a Friday and I ran some errands and then went to relax on my bed with a book, rather enjoying the excuse of not being able to work or worry about the world spinning off its axis. Or missing out on pictures of some shit I didn’t need to see.

I ended up falling asleep and didn’t wake up until later in the afternoon. I decided to not worry until the next day and rather enjoyed myself with some wine on my balcony, watching my world go by.

The next I called my internet provider and was told they were doing an upgrade and I have to return my modem for a new, better shinier one. I packed up my modem and hiked down to the shopping plaza where I pay the bill.

I was a bit hung over and thought the free air would help. Of course, by fresh air, I mean stench of garbage and black clouds of exhaust in the heat. There was a lot of confusion trying to communicate until a woman in line got out her phone and helped us out with her interpreter’s app.

Not long after a woman came along who spoke English and she finally told me I had to go to the main office. This was the last thing I wanted to do all hungover on a Saturday morning. There was a young man in line who worked at the mall as a driver and he told our interpreter he would drive me there for 100 pesos. She said it’s a moto.

That is a motorcycle taxi.  used to take them in Sosua but I hadn’t here. I have graduated to public cabs. Anyhow, I agreed and off we went.

Holy heart attack, Batman! The weaving through the traffic and cutting between cars was quite enough to wake me up thank you very much. At one point we went between a semi truck and a van and I had to check twice to make sure I still had my kneecaps. When we got close enough to see the building he cut through a parking lot, realized it was closed and then just drove over the concrete parking blocks to get back to the main road.

I decided that was close enough and got off. I hiked up the hill to the office and was shocked to the core to see at least 60 people there. Everyone there with their modems. I took a number and then stood against the wall. Finally, a seat became available and I got to sit down for my three-hour wait, My three-hour wait. Sing it to the theme of Gilligan’s Island.

They had brought out extra chairs to accommodate everyone but people showed up with two and three children in tow. It was brutal, but I was sitting and it was air-conditioned. At one point, the young lad behind me was talking on his phone in English so I asked if he would help me when my turn came, just in case.

It was a long afternoon of waiting and waiting and I had no phone, no book and no water.

Turns out English wasn’t the problem. It was me not having my passport. It had never occurred to me I would need it. After a lot of pleading they let me off with an expired Ontario Driver’s licence.

Once I was out I was so relieved it was all over that it dawned on me I hadn’t really thought about how I would get home. I walked.

Fast forward to last week. I went down to the plaza to pay my bill at the kiosk and the lad there pointed out he didn’t have a computer. I went away and came back a few days later to find the kiosk gutted and a note on the front. The only part I could make out was ‘sorry for the inconvenience’. They aren’t.

The closest place for me to pay the bill is at the main office, which is not convenient. At all. I’m not walking all that way and it’s two cars to get there and then two more to get home.

I went to pay my phone yesterday, a different company and asked the lad there if he spoke English. He did.

Long story short, they two lads that were here to do my installation spent a lot of time picking cat hair out of their eyes, noses and mouths. But at least I will be able to pay the bill across the street.

Interesting side note. They called me today to confirm my address and all that, and I missed the call because I had no idea how to answer my phone. I got a new phone in July and this is the first call I had. Sad, lonely cat lady.

My Poppy

It’s Veteran’s Day. It’s also my dad’s birthday. He’s not been with us to celebrate for seven years now. It’s not a birthday you easily forget.

My dad had a myriad of health problems throughout his life. One, in particular, was his eyesight in his later years.

At this time, he was around 80 years old and had to have medical and eye tests done to keep driving.

At his eye appointment, the doctor said there was a strange dark mass behind his eye and he recommended my father to a specialist.

Even hearing this news caused me a great deal of worry. It’s not something anyone needs to hear, let alone live with.

I remember when the date of the specialist’s appointment arrived. I was worried sick all day. I had to wait several hours before calling him due to the time change.

When I finally called, my dad, in a very grave voice said, ‘I have some really bad news’. Seriously? My blood froze and I stopped breathing. For those few seconds, I imagined all of ‘worst case scenarios’ coming true.

What is it, Dad? I was almost too frightened to hear the answer.

‘He took my driver’s license away’

It took me a second or two, then I  laughed a bit out of sheer relief.

‘He’s a bastard’! he screamed down the phone.

It’s all about perspective. Cancer might have been bad news but losing the license was a loss of his freedom and independence. He lived in an apartment building with other seniors and he was reigning ‘cool guy with a car’.

I suggested perhaps if he was to have eye treatments that driving wasn’t likely the best idea but he wasn’t hearing any of it.

He ended up having laser treatments and did get his license back for a few more years. I often think about that, the ways we reacted to the same situation.

In the words of Louie Prima, ‘Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

 

My parents on their way to a movie date.  Enjoying themselves.

 

Mom and Dad

 

 

Butterflies Are Free

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I’ve had butterflies on the mind lately. Mostly because they are absolutely everywhere here. I actually had a swarm of them while walking through the park last week and again the other day walking to the store.

it’s quite incredible, to be honest. We have a lot of trees and flowers coming on this time of year, plus I noticed the mango tree on the corner just heavy with fruit. Fruit, I might add, ends up squashed on the road.

Then, the other day, looking for a wine stopper (not for saving wine, just to re-cork it and keep ut cold) I came across this metal butterfly. It’s a bottle decoration that someone gave me years ago. I don’t think I ever really used it,

It’s one of those large, metal butterflies with a metal ring at the bottom that you put over the neck of a bottle. Like everything else, it’s turned rusty in my drawer. I took it out and left it on the counter.

Today, I grabbed it and tossed it into my grocery bag. I was walking through the park on my way to the bank. I thought, I’ll leave it in the park. I don’t dislike but I don’t use it and don’t see the reason for cleaning it up. Of course, I immediately forgot about it.

I didn’t have my camera, which is my phone, as I never take it with me. You will just have to trust me, the park was particularly spectacular today. In the front part were a lot of young boys and men practicing baseball and exercising.

It wasn’t until the young lad at the grocery store was packing my groceries that the butterfly fell out. I kept it out and then put it on top of the big bag of cat food. As I walked back home, retracing my steps, I pulled it out of the bag looking for the perfect place to put it.

There are plenty of benches but I wanted to give it a better send off than that. I don’t remember who gave it to me, but I’m pretty sure it was Mona, who hasn’t actually spoken to me in a few years now.

I was considering a low branch on one of the many trees when I came upon a partial fence or barrier. It’s really just a lot of spikes, all rusted the same colour as my butterfly. I stuck it right on top of one and it was absolutely perfect. I loved how it looked on there,  like it was part of the stake all along. I wished briefly I had been able to take a picture and made a mental note to look for it on my next trip through.

Simple Pleasures

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This is one of my favourite views. I’m home, on my porch with wine. It gives me so much pleasure to be able to sit on my balcony and just relax. It’s noisy, busy, beautiful, mine.

Sitting here, sipping wine as the sun goes down and the city comes alive. I can’t really afford wine right now but things are inexpensive, so I treated myself. Just because I needed a night on the porch.

Today, everything has been shit, but I’m making today to be everything fucking amazing.

 

Love