Friday, June 24, 2011

Unfinished Business

One of my previous stories from September 9, 2010 - ‘ Writing With the Toilet Seat Down’ - told of my excitement in finally having my own office; my own space to write. The house we moved into last year has one-and-half bathrooms – the ‘half’ I commandeered to being my ‘office.’ And it IS my own space – as long as no other members in my house use it (!).

I have escalated my obsession with my office by banning everyone, even house guests, from using MY space. Yes, peek, have a tour, praise its beauty – but then get out. I make guests walk down two flights of stairs to the lower level of the house to use the ‘office’ down there.

That’s how selfish I am; how protective I am of my domain.

I serve coffee and tea to my guests like there’s no tomorrow, making up for my failings as a fully obliging hostess. But then, sadly, after all that coffee and tea, my adored guests have to make their way back down two flights of stairs.

Although we aren’t the socialites of the neighbourhood, constantly entertaining guests till the wee hours, I have been compiling reasons why my office – er, the washroom – is out of service. Just in case.

Cockamamie stories such as alligators coming up through the toilet. Not that we have alligators in these parts, mind you, but it sure sounds good.

And someone believed me – almost.

But it truly COULD happen, as just the other day an Emperor Penguin was found in New Zealand.

But I digress....

The most recent story used was that the hot water tank was on the fritz. Therefore, the water pressure was ‘off,’ and the toilet was, sadly, completely unusable (the hot water tank is very close in proximity to my office, so the story was highly probable). I apologetically explained that the landlord was set to repair it in two days (says I with my ever-batting eyelashes), so please use the downstairs ‘office’ – please.

And they bought it.

Um – I’m a writer – I create stuff. And in the name of protecting my domain, a girl’s gotta do what a girls’ gotta do.

But as you can see, the morph from lavatory to writing cave hasn’t progressed much further than from when we first moved in. My office still sits in limbo, waiting for more updating. Some days I am frustrated by the lack of progression. It’s been almost a year since we moved into this humble abode, and it’s shameful, really, to see that my office is pretty much the same. Sure, it’s a dream that has stalled, and previous announcements and proclamations have embarrassingly fallen to the wayside.

But it’s mine.

I write at the kitchen table, religiously pulling out my laptop every day at 5am, typing madly while in my precious jammies; not in the bathroom/office like I had previously planned.

But all good things come to those who wait.

I am a busy woman, spending all my money on my kids and coffee, and spending all my time on my kids, laundry, work and writing-on-the-fly. And making up…’stuff.’

I don’t wait very well, and some days it kills me - the waiting - but I have patience.

It will come; it will. It is still MY space – my office. I know some folks in my humble abode ‘borrow’ it when I am not around. They aren’t supposed to, but they do. So I keep chasing them down, and keep making up stories to prevent others from trying to sneak their way in there. And consider getting a lock.

For now, I keep writing. I have my space, I have my writing, and there are more important things in life to worry about.

Like stocking enough toilet paper to write on.

What kind of unfinished business do you have? Anything you have made public that you weren't able to follow through, with? Embarrassing? Funny?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Has Arrived

Tourist season in Victoria, BC starts building steam around April, at its height in July and August. Not only do the sidewalks congest with folks from afar seeking all that downtown Victoria has to offer, but so do the streets.

Transit buses carting folks arriving via BC Ferries jockey for lane space with red double-decker buses shuttling sightseers. Cars, bikes, horse ‘n carriages, tour buses and pedicabs - never mind those brave tourists who have rented mini-scooters for the day - all navigate around the occasional road construction and city parks workers who keep the city beautiful.

But what delights me most - the one vehicle that is out only for a day or two - is the hanging basket trolley. I get a real kick every year when I see it roaming the streets of Victoria. Not only am I witnessing a piece of history, but it also reminds that summer is almost here, and the kids are almost out of school (this is a good AND bad thing).

First started in 1937 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the city in 1862, the 74-year-old tradition has city workers hanging baskets from lampposts in the beginning of June. Geraniums, petunias, and lobelia are just a few plants filling the famous baskets, with various varieties tried and tested every year, improving the assortment.

Watered daily from a truck carrying 2,250 litres of water, the baskets are further loved by weekly checks for moisture content as well as pH and soluble salt levels.

These are not just your ordinary hanging baskets.

The trolley roams the streets stopping at lampposts, and city staff balance on ladders, hoisting up baskets. Eventually to grow and weigh approximately 45 pounds, the baskets are barely half that weight to start; but that’s still a lot of work hanging close to 1,600 baskets.

But there is one other little transport unit zipping and buzzing around town, also minding the baskets. The Empress Hotel Bees, to be specific, according to Rachel Goldsworthy, who wrote about the latest buzz in Victoria.

Keep your eyes peeled if you come to Victoria. Everyone is busy, busy, busy; vehicles, people and…insects.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jumpin' on the Bandwagon

I have been drawn into the hype, excitement and swirl of emotions of the Stanley Cup Finals – just like I was during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. And like most of the sports I cheered for during the Olympics, I don’t know a heckuva lot about our national sport - hockey. Sure, I know enough to cheer or groan at all the right, pivotal moments - but that’s about it.

And just like after the Olympics when the medals were ceremoniously handed out, after the Stanley Cup is presented, and the winners are kissing the cup – I will be done.

And jump off the bandwagon I so shamelessly boarded.

The Stanley Cup finals are in full swing, and like me, someone else has jumped on the bandwagon.

The bronze statue of Captain James Cook resides across the street from the famed Empress Hotel in the inner harbour of downtown Victoria BC. A hockey jersey of the Vancouver Canucks, one of the finalists vying for the historical silver cup, keeps Captain Cook cozy on these still chilly June evenings – truly showing his loyalty, pride and devotion to the hockey team the province, and most of Canada, are cheering for.

When Captain Cook dropped anchor in 1778 in Nootka Sound with his pals Mr. William Bligh and Midshipmen George Vancouver at his side, I don’t think he envisioned wearing fashionable garments such as this, one day, never mind watching a city/province/country going gaga over guys with sticks and a puck.

But alas, it’s all in the name of team support. Whether an avid fan, or someone like me jumpin’ on the bandwagon and asking every hockey follower I know to educate and bring me up to speed on this sport I know nothing about, it’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s an escape. Yes, there are more important things going on in this world. But for two hours, every few nights, watching a few guys chasing their dream down the ice towards that big silver cup – hey, it’s a break away from the rest of the world. It’s not a bad bandwagon to be on.

And like, after the Olympics, when all is said and done, even though I will be all ‘hockey-ed’ out, I will miss it. Like many who missed the Olympics when it was over – the fun, hype, excitement – I am sure many will miss huddling around the TV, cheering on the boys.

Who cares if I am not a ‘true fan,’ following along all year long. My heart is in it when it counts – just as is the bronze heart of Captain Cook - showing team pride and cheering for the ‘Nucks.