As I mentioned previously, our two youngest finally got summer jobs. Today, I’m going to talk about our youngest. That’s because I have been receiving updates from our neighbor about it.
Our youngest has finished his first week of work. There have been early mornings all week. He has come home after an eight hour day at 1pm and taken a nap on more than one occasion. But it hasn’t deterred home from getting to work each and every day this week.
On his first day, he was actively working the grounds by hand. He raked the sand traps and was given the general lay of the land. It’s funny, but after three days at work, he’s already talking about golf and the course he works at.
Three days later and he was using the machines to smooth out the sand traps. He came home today and enthusiastically described the work involved in operating these machines. My hunch is telling me that he will keep this job for a few years and enjoy the summer benefits he gets from working there.
He also wants to start golfing now. He has been told a bunch of advice and feels the need to get involved more. He gets free golf, so I’m sure he will take advantage of it by the end of summer and into fall. All I can say- my father (his grandfather) would be proud.
The first heatwave has passed us by. As much as I enjoyed lounging by the pool (bit did I ever enjoy that!) I was able to combat the heat in other ways. We had our heat pump serviced last week and the technician gave us some advice on running the AC in order to keep the unit lasting longer.
We also keep the blinds down when the sun is hitting the windows. As well, we keep doors cans windows closed. The ceiling fans are on low in order to circulate the cool air. The comfort level in our home is perfect. So comfortable in fact that it makes it easy for me to sleep during the day.
That’s because my favorite way to battle the summer heat is to work at night. Yeah, night shifts aren’t fun, but the cool evening air and light breeze makes work so much better. When I was a switchman, I worked nights quite regularly in the summer in order to avoid bugs and the heat. I know not everyone has that option in working and outside job- but if you can- I recommend summer nights for working.
Since most folks work normal hours, remember to stay cool and hydrated! Even stuffy offices should be a comfortable place to work at.
I hear the phrase, “It is what it is.” Whenever there is something bad happening in life that you can’t control. It’s not a favorite phrase of mine, so I try not to use it- but I know I have from time to time. The other phrase that gets me is “At the end of the day…” The end of the day comes, well, daily. But I want to counter it with a new one.
“Oh well. Whatever happens, happens.” No matter what each day brings us, we are just should just chill out and breathe deep. Let the world continue on its merry way, and not get bothered by it. Here’s how I let that happen: I know what I’m working towards and enjoy why I do what I do.
Last night I was at work and my wife sent me a beautiful view of the sky from our home. The thought that our home is a mere thirty five minutes away from work keeps me going. Having views like this are some of the reasons why I go to work. Not bringing the stress home is also important. “Let it be.” As the Beatles sang.
What do you work towards? Do you try your best to let “whatever happens, happen?” Or do you try and gain control over things that are out of your control? Lastly, what are you working towards? Does it make you happy?
It isn’t as bad as it sounds. Our 16 year old son just got his first summer job. Our tenants introduced us to a fellow who lives up the road. That person told our son to go and apply for a job at the Surrey Golf Course.
Yesterday morning I dropped our son off to apply for groundskeeper/ landscaper. Forty five minutes later and he was smiling from ear to ear. He starts the job next week working full time Monday to Friday. The job starts early- 5am. But he will be done to enjoy his afternoons and evenings every day.
In getting his first job, he needed to get a few things. Most importantly was his first pair of work boots. I offered to buy his first pair of steel toe boots. But told him he will need to take care of them and after this, he will be on his own to buy his own work gear. We also went out to pick up a couple of polo shirts and some work pants.
He is excited for his new independence and cash freedom. We also went and opened his first bank account. I reminded him to set aside a minimum of 10% of his income. He is unsure what he will be saving towards., so I suggested he put the majority of his money into his savings account as the interest rate is better. I hope he understands why I suggest this.
I’m happy for him and look forward to seeing how he fares (get it? Like fairway on a golf course?) One of the perks of his job is getting free golf and discounts at the country club. I have a feeling he will be following in my father’s footsteps and grow into a love of golf.
Sometimes work is not the place a person wants to be at. Especially on a sunny day or worse- when things don’t go right. It’s hard to find a slice of joy at work during the ups and downs.
I do my best to try and find the beauty all around me. Oftentimes my work just has it rolling right by me. Today I saw some artwork that caught my eye. Where the car sat- the backdrop was perfect. Naturally I had to get a picture.
I love the image someone vandalized on this grain hopper. It’s ironically of a grain silo on the side of a grain car. But it is so well done and detailed that you almost forget that it was created with spray paint and done illegally. Clearly the image of a silo in the prairies with northern lights emanating from the background is something of significance to the artist. I love how they were also able to make the lights look like they are actually glowing.
I am fully appreciative of the skills it takes to make art of this scale. The amount of time and effort to hone in on their talents astounds me. Over the years I have been able to track more of the art down on Instagram and I have even been in contact with some of the artists. My appreciation has been expressed to them for creating beautiful pieces in an otherwise monotonous and grey environment. Keep up the creativity and I’ll continue to share the art as it rolls from town to town.
I’m not sure where my days off disappeared to. But they are gone. Now it’s Saturday night and I’m ready for bed. The work week begins early the next day.
I honestly didn’t do much with my time off. And as much as I wanted to do even less- I had a few chores that needed attention: Cleaning the pool, making meals, dying my kid’s hair, fixing a leaky roof… all I wanted was a day in my pajamas to do nothing.
Sometimes when I’m having desires of nothing- I’ll take a bath and read a book. Alas, I did not do that either. Yet somehow, my weekend is over. I did nothing. Just not the nothing I wanted to do.
On the bright side- there’s always next weekend. More time to do nothing. Let’s see if I can accomplish that.
Today I hung out with an older coworker of mine. He is an experienced railroader who has been with the company as long as I have been alive- almost five decades. So I respect how he runs things and listen to his stories. Not many of his tales are of work. Most are of his family and experiences outside of there. I appreciate his tales and respect how he tells them.
I spent hours with him today. In doing so, I came home smelling like an ashtray. He smokes. A lot. I haven’t smelled like cigarettes in years. My father smoked regularly. And in the 70’s/80’s it wasn’t uncommon to be indoors or in a car with a child while you smoked. As a result, I took up smoking at around age 17.
I smoked for about 10 years off and on. There is hardly any pictures of me smoking. In fact, when my wife and I married, she requested that we do not have pictures of us smoking in case our children were to see them. The last time I smoked a cigarette was before my son was born. Over 16 years ago.
I have celebrated with a cigar on occasion since then. Not my favorite thing to do, so it’s only been about three times. I do not smoke any other things, as my world is already a trip as it is. Finding a picture of my indiscretions of the past is rare and I would be surprised if there are more than the two I have shared today.
But the smell of stale cigarettes on my clothes today brought back memories of long ago. I was unsure of what tale I wanted to share, if any, of smoking. So here’s a small tidbit.
When I was under the age of ten, my father would send me to the corner store to buy cigarettes. There was an age restriction of being sixteen in 1986, so I would be given note with a phone number to contact my dad, and I could buy a pack and bring it home. After a few times, the corner store owner began to know me and my father’s brand, so the note was unnecessary for a couple of years. That was when the age limit changed to 18 and the government cracked down on selling to minors.
Cigarettes and smoking have a different stigma than they once had. My coworker still smokes as of the 80’s and 90’s were relevant. A part of me looks to him as an uncle, and honestly he probably could’ve been a close family friend. He reminds me of the good aspects of my father. Plus my coworker has been known to dye his hair and mustache to look younger. He has a look of Burt Reynolds when he does this.
Hence the title of today’s blog- Smokey. Honestly, I think of how my father looked in the 80’s and believe this was also his attempt and being cool. Facial hair, a cigarette and a beer- that was the 80’s “Dad Look” and smell. No cologne needed as a haze of smoke would be around.
Another tiring day at the office and came home to more tiring activities. The action of making dinner and putting away laundry was more mentally exhausting than it needed to be.
I went through the motions and did what I had to do. I almost forgot to write this blog. So please forgive me if it’s meh. Which I know it is. I don’t have the mental capacity to put a lot of thought or string words together eloquently right now.
I’m just throwing in the towel for the day and heading to sleep. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day. Stay strong Josef. The week is almost at the halfway point. It’s been a tough climb up the first half of the week- then it’s all down hill.
Today is not as bad as it has been in the past. Mostly my lower back causing me grief. I think it is partly due to sitting for extended lengths of time while at work in front of a computer. I have been doing my best not to cross my legs while sitting, as well as getting up to walk around more. I do have to drive quite a bit for work, so I’m also sitting for ages heading out to different locations.
I do enjoy walking when the pain isn’t around. My wife knows that I have struggled occasionally to keep up with her- I feel elderly some days even though she has five years on me! At work, the ground isn’t exactly an even surface to walk on (railroads are like that). Sometimes I’m naturally tense as I walk the rail yard talking to crews.
Slouching is also a bad habit I have. But being 6’8” means I have to lean over naturally while standing. Slouching while sitting is a habit I need to break; and I should have broken years ago. Back stretches help. I hate to say it, but last week when building the roof on the gazebo was really good for my muscles. I felt great after the physical work.
What I’m saying is, the back pain is back. Or it never really left in the end.
Back in the middle of February I ordered a gazebo from Costco. It was on sale and was out of stock every day I was trying to buy it. Until the last day of the sale. I snagged one and had it delivered about ten days later.
We were replacing a pergola that was on our back deck. The pergola was still in great shape, and we had picked up a new fabric top last summer. However, we also realized that we needed a better cover for the upcoming summer season. Our new gazebo arrived in three very heavy boxes on a pallet. It sat in my side of the garage for a little over a week.
I had taken down the old pergola last week. When my wife and I returned home from my birthday night away- we took the time to move the parts downstairs to the back deck. The family helped, and we built the four posts and the frame that afternoon. The next day, my son and I worked hard in the rain to build each roof panel. We placed them into position and called it quits. The rain was not easing up.
Today we had good weather. So in the afternoon when my wife finished work, we headed outside once more and worked as a family to finish the build. After a bit of figuring out the layout and how it would work- we had the roof up and the gazebo was completed within a couple of hours.
As I finished some of the last screws, the family brought down the patio set and got it in place. I’m so happy that the family came together as we built the outdoor structure. I truly appreciate their help and if you could believe it, there was minimal cursing and no bloodshed!
We are almost ready for the summer season. Just some lights, a heat lamp, and some friends are all that is needed for some great evenings.
Switch every two weeks from days to nights is a bit challenging. After doing two weeks of day shift, I had three days off to get ready for my first night shift. Instead, I was still waking up early, going for walks, doing chores and in bed long before midnight.
I’m about to attempt a nap now. I’ll likely get a couple of hours, but not the full four I was hoping for. This usually happens. The other thing that happens is that I will sleep all day tomorrow and my body will be close to the flip of nights.
Anyhow, not much to write about today. Just that I need a nap and swinging into nights is difficult. Oh well. I like my job so I’ll keep doing this for a few more years. Retirement will be arriving in September 30, 2034. Without a loss to my pension. Age 58 isn’t so bad to call it quits. Freedom from night shifts is within reach!
It’s rare that I have a day where I have no idea what to blog about. I had a couple days lately where I really didn’t do much or think much. I just floated through my life. Off to work, back home to watch tv and go to sleep. All just to do it again. Time to figure out something completely random to write about.
My family moved in the summer between my grade 9 and grade 10 year. My parents downsized into a newer home in a newly built suburb. It was a really nice place, but I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood. A few blocks away was a family run video store. Not a Blockbuster by any means, and the selection did lack. I remember going there the day “Problem Child” was to come out on VHS. They did not have a copy that week. But because we went there every couple of days that summer, the owner got to know me and had the film ready the following week for me and kept a copy aside for me to rent. (Little secret- it’s not a good movie.)
Next door to the video store was a small fast food burger restaurant. I got employed later that year as my first real job flipping burgers. My boss was a great Korean fellow named Byung Sunny Kim. We called him Sunny. He would sing songs in Korean and if it was just the two of us working, he’d incorporate my name into the song. He was a pleasant man and took really good care of me while I worked there through high school. Even buying me my first flat of beer (yeah, I was 17) and we had a couple beers on the back steps of the restaurant- and he told me to behave.
At the video store they ran a contest to guess the day the owner would give birth to her first child. Winner would get a year of free movie rentals. I have no idea who won, but it was a community feeling as we waited for her to have her baby. I remember seeing the child shortly after she was born as the owner had to work regularly at her own store. That’s the difficulty of running a small business.
This little neighborhood strip mall die die shortly after I graduated. Burger Brothers was bought by McDonalds as Sunny cashed in for retirement. The video store was squeezed out by a Blockbuster Video that was on a major road, garnering more traffic. It took me turning into an adult to realize that I had it pretty good when I lived there as a teenager. The emotional connections I made with the small business owners meant a lot and have stayed with me a lifetime. I continue to support small businesses and have grown to appreciate the personal touches they give to me as a regular customer.
I had nothing to write about today, so I chose a time in my life that I forgot about. Maybe I’ve mentioned these stories in the past, maybe I haven’t. But at least I created some content, which is my daily goal. It also made me a bit sad to think about these old family run businesses that are no more.
But they impacted who I am today in their own way. And for that I am grateful- looking back when I am unsure where to go in the future.
Sometimes a memory pops up on Facebook and it’s kind of heartbreaking. Today hit me unexpectedly, again…
Some of you may be thinking, It’s just a job, why does it matter? To me it wasn’t “just a job” that I was leaving. I left a job that I truly enjoyed and was proud to do. I also left behind numerous friendships- however I have still kept in contact with many of them. Colossus was the first place to employ me after almost a year of unemployment. I worked there for five years- as I felt I owed it to them for getting me out of a bad place. Yet it was time to move on. The main reason I left was money.
The job didn’t pay as well as I needed anymore. It was great when I was single and scraped by. However, I never saw a future for me and my family. I was married and we had our first kid. My wife was pregnant with our second child that would be born three months later. I needed to do more than just enjoy my job. I needed to be able to support my family.
Besides working at Colossus Cinema, I was also working two other part time jobs. I was putting in 70-80 hours a week in order to buy our first home. If I hadn’t sacrificed my time back then, we wouldn’t be where we are now.
Over the years I have shared with my family my love of cinema. In return, our oldest is going to school in order to work behind the scenes. Our middle has friends who work at that same theater and has been going to movies with friends. Our youngest is always talking to me about the latest trailers and wanting to be the first to see the big blockbusters as they come out.
Since 1999, Colossus has been a part of my journey in this life. I am fortunate that working there happened. I also can’t believe where I’ve gotten to since then. It was a good move, maybe when I retire I’ll go back to being a projectionist part time, assuming they need someone of my age.
This year has started off like most of my previous years. Relaxing and lazy. My wife and I are enjoying some tv marathons and video games. Kids are still home from school- they even get an extra week for added Covid Protection. The food is still in abundance and the house is at a good level of cleanliness.
Later this evening I will be back at work for my regular work week. A stint of night shifts to get the year under way. Night shifts in the winter aren’t too bad. Of course nights are a bit colder and make your teeth chatter. However, I get home in the morning while it’s still dark, which makes it easier to fall asleep. I miss out on what little sun there is for the day. Sometimes I’ll sleep with my blinds open because the light doesn’t bother me.
But as the month and year move forward, I realize that again I have no Resolutions to work on. Perhaps it’s the fear of failure that prevents me from wanting to change anything. Or maybe I just like my comfort zone. I also tend to just “fix” myself when I really need it. Quitting bad habits or starting new hobbies- I just do that when I feel like it.
The one thing I do at the start of January is start a new toothbrush. This year we went fancy pants and got the Philips Sonicare cordless electric toothbrush. Normally I just open the one my dentist gives me. So an electric toothbrush is new and different. Healthy teeth and gums are important.
That’s it for my quick thoughts about day 2. No real changes. Nothing super exciting. Just dental care.
I am almost finished having a week of vacation. There is one day left to go and I’m hoping to make the most of it. Most of my time off was filled with appointments and keeping myself busy.
Looking back at the week, I accomplished what I need to do- but relaxing wasn’t there. Early mornings and chores filled my excess time. I did get a short nap in on Friday afternoon which was nice.
Saturday will have a few fun fall activities planned. I’ll share the story afterwards. Or follow along on my Instagram and you may see the fun before I write about it. It’ll be silly fun for me and my family. I hope that you enjoy it, as I’m looking forward to finishing my vacation with some fun. (If I say fun enough times, it’ll be fun, right?)
Ending a vacation is always difficult. Work creeps up quickly and then you’re back in the grind waiting for the next set of days off. That’s just how life works.
I’m on a week of vacation at the moment. I am not going away on a trip. Instead I have planned to fill each and every day with experiences and time to myself. A mental break from work and stresses.
My time away from work is precious to me. Everything from the hours in between shifts to days off, and especially vacation. Work is the furthest thing from my mind. It’ll still be there when I return.
I do have plans to see some coworkers over the weekend. I’m sure some gossip and work talk will come up. But it’s a bit different than having to answer emails and help out. Plus we can discuss life outside of work, which is nice.
My time is valuable to me. I’m not willing to give it up as it’s one of the most important things to have. People everywhere want some of it. Be wise when giving it out.
Our teenagers are pretty good at saving whatever money they get in order to buy the stuff they want. However, birthday and Christmas cash is only going to help a bit. Time to step it up a notch.
Our two youngest have been out looking for part time employment. At the start of summer, they were doing online applications. Now they are out hitting the streets with paper resumes and filling out application forms.
The hardest part I have found is explaining to them how to describe any past experience and relate it to the job they want. They may not have exact experience in retail. But they have worked Comicons in the artist alley and have been assistant coaches for some time now.
I’m sure they will become productive members of society soon enough. All the best of luck to their endeavors, because I’m not paying for the fun stuff any more.
Working nights can be a beautiful thing. As much as I sometimes complain, there is still some good that can be found in the night shift.
My favorite thing about working at night is how quiet the streets are. I can travel down the city streets with no other cars in sight and make every green light. Even the commute is easier. I’m busy traveling in the opposite direction from rush hour traffic.
I also really like the peace and quiet that nighttime brings with it. There’s a certain time at around 3am that just seems to shut down the world. As if the universe is resetting itself to begin anew.
I’m also enjoying the last couple of nights because the temperature drops to a comfortable level. Normally I’d feel as if I was missing out on the daily grind. But our record breaking heatwave was getting to be unbearable.
Do you work shift work? How do you like it? Drop your opinion in the comments section and let me know.
Vacation doesn’t last forever. It was time to return to work last night. After getting through a couple thousand emails, I was up to date with the operation. But in the back of my mind all night was thoughts of our new home.
When I finished my night shift, I headed home and got into some swim trunks. I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed down to the pool. As exhausted as I was from doing my first night shift in ages, I still enjoyed the refreshing water. I’m even contemplating doing yoga this summer.
Standing on my deck I realized- this is my lifestyle now. You know what else? In two weeks I have some more vacation time to chill out in our yard. I plan on owning the summer and making the most of what we have.
With about 48 hours remaining until we are in our new home, I am hitting on the number 2 in my countdown.
In elementary school our classrooms were separated into Divisions. When I was in Grade 7- there were two classes. I was in Division 2. Our teacher had a sign that read “Second to none.” It was one of the things that always made me feel good about myself. That phrase of not being second best, but exuding confidence when you need it. Mr. Fallman was one of my favorite teachers ever.
As I have mentioned before, sometimes at work we use odd phrases. When counting out loud and giving directions over the radio, we are required to say it twice in order to confirm the instructions. I have a tendency to sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger when it come to the number two. Coupla. Tumor.
These past few days of last minute packing have been a Blur.
“Song 2” by Blur was part of my soundtrack to the summer of 1997. Add in “Wannabe” by Spice Girls and “Mo’ money mo’ problems” by B.I.G. & Puff Daddy and you have the eclectic understanding of the start of my 20’s. A throwback to the loud music coming out of a couple of subwoofers in the back of my car. Loud music as I drove to and from my home. It’s something I still do to this day when driving alone.
All of the time, but I’m never sure why I need you.
With only two days to go, I’m working on the soundtrack to say goodbye to our home and hello to our next place. My playlist is growing with a hope to bring forth memories and energize our lives a bit more.
Sometimes an event or day drags on. Some of us have work meetings that last forever. It feels like there is no escaping it.
Some meetings feel like lectures. Where one person speaks and everyone else just sits there listening. Like a classroom setting with a teacher. Everyone having to listen and pay attention in hopes that you don’t get called on to answer a question that you weren’t even paying attention to.
Now with online meetings, it’s worse. There are video conferences that have people just blankly following along. We can all see it. And we can all feel it. To break up the doldrums of the topic, subtle side messaging begins. Jokes and insults and off topic subjects start to come out. Anything at all to keep your sanity as watching the paint dry and dreaming of a place that doesn’t quite resemble hell enters your mind.
Then a sigh of relief when it ends. A renewed energy comes back into you as you realize the last five hours are time you cannot get back. Time that, even though you are paid to be there, feels wasted.
Back in the early 80’s my father began working for a computer company. WANG Computers. By the mid 90’s- the company he was working for wasn’t doing so hot and downsizing was rampant. As the offices shutdown, and the spaces were condensed- my father stayed. He had the luxury of having to terminate people he had worked with for years. It did not bode well for his health.
As the downsizing continued, the company started selling off their office equipment. Eventually my father picked up some things prior to his departure. We got a few art pieces, a couple computer chairs, and a desk. A large, heavy, durable, virtually indestructible desk. My family moved this monster into at least four different homes. I inherited the beast. I will not be taking it to my new house.
So I brought it to my work.
We needed a new desk at my work. I have been asking for some new furniture for ages, but it doesn’t look like it’s on the horizon. At least for the foreseeable future, This desk will be utilized. Everyone who saw the desk literally said, “Hey- Nice Desk.”
What’s funny is that this wasn’t even the desk my father used at his work. This was some random cubicle desk he brought home. I had to help him dismantle it on a Saturday and bring it home back when I was a teenager.
Now every time I go to work and sit at the desk- I’ll think of my father. I will think of him and my plans to Retire from this job. It’s the perfect desk for my work.
I enjoy seeing the sun. It just kind of sucks seeing it when you are at work.
These early mornings are also rather chilly to start, but midday is toasty and warm out. You can tell that summer is peeking it’s head around the corner. We are getting just a little taste of things to come.
As spring keeps bringing nicer and nicer weather, I really want to get outside more often. A dose of vitamin D helps bring up that energy needed to feel good.
Even if I am stuck at work, I get opportunities to walk around the rail yard and enjoy the sun on my face. Sure, I’m not at the beach, but I’ll take what I can get. My days off look like they should be warm and sunny as well. Perhaps a trail hike or kayak trip will happen this weekend.
Working night shifts is pretty rough these days. My sleep pattern is so broken because of all the extra stuff going on with selling and buying a house. I get phone calls, emails and texts from our realtor during “normal” business hours while I’m trying to sleep. I was glad last week when I only had to work Three Shifts.
I can’t get angry at those who contact me. But I do wish that I could pass them off to my wife. Problem is she is working normal hours. Usually she is good at leaving me alone. My kids however… they tend to be louder and noisier when they know I need sleep.
I’m about to go in for my third 12 hour shift in a row tonight. I feel like a zombie- getting just barely enough sleep in order to function. I have one more to go after this as well.
Hopefully I can catch up on some sleep on my days off. Then I can become normal once more.
With everything that is going on this month- it is nice to realize that I only have a three day work week. Even better is the fact that I have only one more shift to go. What’s been really good is that work has been comforting in the fact that the stresses there are manageable.
I’m not liking the house selling/buying stresses. About twenty years ago when my wife and I did a “Pre-Marriage Course”. It was part of the agreement we made with the pastor in order for her to marry us. The course was over a weekend and delved into a lot of subjects related to marriage. The one I recall the most was how to Tri-fold a towel. The other was about the different stresses in our lives. (Folding towels isn’t one of them… unless you make it one).
The top stressors after death and marriage was having children and moving. I’m happy to report that divorce hasn’t happened and death in the family has been at the wayside since just before we married. Children are an ongoing stress. But moving has happened only twice since my wife and I met 21 years ago. I guess it was about time to add that stress in our lives.
So as nice as it is that I have a three day work week, it just means that I will be able to focus my free time at home stressed out. No real avenue to relieve that stress either. I’ll probably just end up gathering more junk together and get it ready for pick up. I’m also going to try going for a walk each day to clear my head. I just need to stay active and not dive too far into my own thoughts.