A Tale of Two Cities

Friday I got up at 8:15 to the sound of a purring in my ear.

The AirBnB I was staying at was a one bedroom apartment a few clicks (I’m so Canadian) out of downtown Vancouver. My host (B.E.) was staying in her bedroom and I had a “private” room – better defined as a fold-out in the living room. The privacy was provided by curtains she had hung between the kitchen and couch. She was a pleasant young girl if not a little bit chatty and her cat Maci was even chattier (but more snuggly).

I showered and dressed and looked out at the rainy day.

What I felt like doing was going to my couch at home and knitting in front of a black and white Audrey Hepburn movie while sipping on some whiskey-fied tea. But, damn it, I was on vacation. It was time to go tourist.

The light-rail was two blocks away and upon getting there I started to second guess the internal scoffing I did when B.E. showed me where the umbrella was. Three blocks of walking downtown looking for a breakfast place and I looked like I had just gotten done with an all day all access Splash Mountain visit. I found some warmth and sustenance and determined my day.

I still really wanted to knit. And drink. And watch a movie.

Instead, I got back on the tram and went to the waterfront. Once there I wandered around the gaslight area for a little while and stumbled upon a knit shop. Within a few minutes I found a project and made my purchases, I walked back out with a plan. I was going to go back to the apartment and knit and watch a movie on Netflix because really it was what I had wanted to do and apparently God wanted the same for me which is why that knit shop was right there where I was.

I got back to the apartment and did not run into any of the neighbors who I had been told were nice, but I was to say I was a friend visiting from out of town if they asked any questions. I dried off and got cozy with my knitting, the Lance Armstrong documentary, and Maci snuggled and purring on my lap.

About an hour in, I heard the door open and looked up to find a 20-something looking at me and chatting away in what I can easily pick out as an Israeli accent. It turns out that she was a friend of D.E. and was crashing at her apartment because she had just rented out her own apartment on AirBnB last minute and D.E. said it was cool. She was on a juice cleanse and was starving because the thought of drinking the juice she had made for herself was making her sick, but really, she needed to lose weight because her boyfriend was losing interest in her and also she owned a vegan juice bar so if she was going to recommend these things to her clients she should really try them herself. But, oops, she’d be right back because if there was one thing for certain the cleanse part of the cleanse is accurate.

While she was in the bathroom I quickly changed clothes and sped out of the apartment to some Malaysian food.

I sat at the restaurant knitting and listening to the conversations around me. All the while, I was trying to figure out what to do. Vancouver was pretty, but it was just like Portland – except I didn’t know where to go to have fun and the only people I knew were the magpies in the ever-shinking one bedroom I was staying in. I got back to the apartment, asked my host to show me how to work the TV and started chatting on the computer with various friends online.

One of my friends invited me to brunch the next morning. At that point, I had already considered going home the next day. Well, what the hell, it was 9:30PM and I was awake enough to drive. I packed myself up, said goodbye to my host, and hit the road.

The border crossing had a pretty decent line at it and I was already going through the many scenarios of questioning I would face. “Says here you were going to be in Canada until Sunday. Back so soon? Please follow the agent with the latex gloves into that room Miss.” But, once I got to the booth the guy took my card and asked where I was from. “Vancouver, Washington.” “Ahhh,” he nodded, “the real Vancouver.” handed me my ID and sent me on my way.

I got back to my house at 2:40 in the morning and slept like a log.

The rest of the weekend has been great. I got some knitting done, some brunching in, some friend time and 9 holes of golf this morning. It was the perfect vacation in Vancouver.

And now, I will knit, and drink, and watch an old black and white Hepburn.

Oy, Canada

Before getting canned from my job (I am getting more comfortable with this circumstance) I planned a vacation in Vancouver, BC. – just for me, Thursday through Sunday. Then I got fired and decided to go through with it anyway, and in fact, I probably need it even more so.

I have never been to West Canadia. Having grown up for sometime in Niagara Falls I am well versed with Canadian culture like Molsons, niceness and Tim Hortons, but I have heard so much about how beautiful Vancouver BC is I thought it would be a good getaway. I got on AirBnB (my favorite company – for real) and found a space for rent nearish downtown.

With no real plans I packed up one backpack with a menagerie of clothes (I might want to wear while hiking at a hip-hop club during a warm winter) and one backpack of toiletries, got in the car and headed north.

Everyone I had spoken to told me it would be about a four and a half hour drive, but it turns out everyone I spoke to is a damned liar.

I left the house at 9:30 and stopped at the Starbucks at 9:45. Snuggled up to my quad tall breve latte and The Nerdist podcasts that I needed to catch up on, I drove on. Just north of Olympia I filled up with gas. The only slowness was around Seattle at 12:30. By 2:00 in Bellingham it was time for lunch. For those of you doing the math I had hit 4.5 hours but not yet Canadia. Yes, it was near, but then Vancouver was at least another half hour after the border. Luckily I wasn’t on a schedule so I found a brewery.

I ordered a cherry cider and tried to order a Caesar salad with chicken minus croutons, but, apparently the Caeser dressing had gluten in it. Andrew makes me a Caesar salad regularly at home. It has anchovies and olive oil and balsamic vinegar and lemon and garlic and a raw (coddled) egg and parmesan – but no gluten – and it’s perfect. When the waitress came back and told me the Caesar had gluten I practically gave her the recipe to go and make me the salad properly, instead I ordered the house salad with bacon and chicken. I was thoroughly disappointed and sulking until the salad came out and was good.

But the bacon. Oh my gosh the bacon. It was cooked perfectly. The right amount of crisp to non-crisp ratio, perfect smokiness, still warm but not too hot to make the salad wilt. It was fantastic. And the cherry cider washed it all down perfectly.

Just before I got to the border I pulled over on the highway to turn my cell data off. I don’t know why I waited that long, or didn’t wait until customs where there was the inevitable line, I can only guess I wanted to look like a suspect.

I got up to the lady in the booth, handed her my passport card and silently prayed that I was the only one of the two of us that could smell nothing but cherry cider as I spoke.

She: where are you from

Me: Vancouver, Washington

She: Have you ever been to Canada

Me: No. I mean, yes! But not on this coast. Only on the east coast.

She: When was the last time you were in Canada?

Me: ummmm…  2 years ago. No! Last year in June? Or July?

My Brain: this is a lot of questions.

She: what are you doing in Canada

Me: Just visiting

She: Who are you visiting

Me: no one

My Brain: You just said you were visiting you dumbass. Jesus, Hadas, don’t you speak Canadian?!?! she’s going to think you are drunk or something

She: (raised eyebrow)

Me: I mean, I am staying with a person from AirBnB but I don’t actually know her. I, errrr, really it’s just a little vacation

She: Oh? Where do you work

My Brain: just say Nike, just say Nike

Me: Well, actually, I just got fired on Tuesday morning.

She: Oh? What did you do?

Me: Security…. I mean, IT security…. For Nike?

My brain: Why are you asking her? Oh my god, she thinks you’re drunk. Are you drunk? We are going to get arrested.

She: (handing me back a yellow slip and my ID card) Pull over to the left and hand this slip to the man standing there.

Which I did. Then I parked, grabbed my phone and purse and key and went into the lobby where I was summoned to the counter. The customs agent started grilling me like I’d been grilled outside only this time he was repeating questions like where did I live about four or five times. He asked me if I lived alone and why my boyfriend didn’t come with me and then when he found out I was driving my boyfriends car asked if he would find any of my boyfriend’s things in it.

Me: ummm maybe? There might be like some tire chains and maybe a yoga mat in the trunk.

My Brain: What a stupid question, everything you find in there is his. Unless it’s mine… DUH

He: I mean something illegal

Me: Hahahaha. Oh, you’re serious… ummm… no.

My Brain: They don’t think you are drunk, they think you are a drug mule. God I hope I don’t have to go through a strip search.

He: Okay. Go sit down.

But instead of going directly to sit down, I decided to do the one thing to make myself even more suspect than I already was and asked for the bathroom. I blame the cherry cider.

After about twenty minutes of rummaging through the car and my bags, customs determined I was not the drug mule they thought I might be and sent me on my merry way. I made it to Vancouver and my lodging safely.

Now off to find Tim Hortons.

Love Sick

Andrew and I have been dating for close to five years. We were discussing this a few nights ago and the fact that we don’t really have an anniversary.

Andrew: Well whatever it’s about five years, happy anniversary, or non-anniversary

Me: ooh naan anniversary is that five years of dating?

Andrew: I suppose it could be any flat bread

Me: Happy pita

Andrew: or Matzoh

Me: Here’s a Ritz cracker

We’ve really got our schtick together. Andrew and I are still going strong and what I have noticed is that our relationship has changed over the years (not unexpectedly). We’ve moved in together, grown accustomed to each other’s quirks, can practically finish each other’s jokes but most importantly (and likely most frequently) he has grown accustomed to my levels of distress.

The first time he saw me truly hurting was in a bicycle accident four or five years ago or so – back when our relationship was still new. I injured myself pretty badly and writhed around on the ground howling for a bit for good measure. Andrew’s first question back then was a panicked, “Are you okay?” his second, “Should I call 911?” My respective responses to him were, “I am fine, stop pressing on my hip.” and “If you dare, we are breaking up.” or something similar.

Now the years have gone by and last night as I lay writhing on the hardwood floor naked from the waist up trying to cool myself off and convince my seemingly semi-monthly food poisoning to subside, Andrew just left me to be and only came by when I called him to see that my cat Widget, alarmed by my mewling, had laid on top of me and started flopping her tail in my face. Not to make Andrew sound like a monster. This is the care I prefer. Take note I am dying, then leave me to doing it.

After what seemed like an hour, I got up and did my best Linda Blair impression into the kitchen sink (I figured the disposal would be beneficial in clean-up) and it really was a close variant of Linda in that the last thing I’d eaten was spinach salad, so the verdant color was close, if not a perfect match. Andrew steadfastly stood within a rooms length and cooed poor baby-s at me now and again.

When I finished I cleaned up and went directly into couch-fetal position. Andrew came by, sat next to me, patted me on the head and asked the first question, “Are you going to be okay while I go play hockey?” See, he really gets me!

This was followed closely with, “I feel like I should post this on Facebook because our friends like to be kept up to date on your health and well being.”

Well, I guess Andrew still has a little more to learn about me; because, as I told him last night, he is absolutely, not even a little bit, allowed to spoiler my blog.

Sealed With A Kiss

Dear Oregon Employment Office:

Thanks for having me fill out my profile online, I appreciate you embracing some of the 2014ness of today. However, in that it is 2014, can you explain to me why I have to stay in state while job searching? You do know that no one goes into a business and fills out an application anymore, right? Well, I mean, some people do. But, that’s not the job I am looking for. In fact, if that was the method I was using to find new work you could be guaranteed to know that I am not being serious about finding work.

Dear Former Employer:

I am glad we are no longer together, but I am really pissed at you. Your firing me feels a lot like you are spreading nasty rumors about me. Can’t we just act like adults and say we weren’t right for each other? I am not going around bad-mouthing you. In fact, I really love your apparel and will continue to be a consumer. So, stop making this awkward.

Dear Customer Service Phone Agents I Dealt With Yesterday, The Day I Got Fired:

You don’t get paid enough. I am sorry for being an asshole. I appreciate each and every one of you and your patience. While I already apologized to each of you while yelling at you on the phone, I am not sure my tone conveyed my sincerity. So, let me double up on that apology. I am sorry. My shitty attitude was a hard thing to be managed and I hope I didn’t ruin your respective days.

Dear VA Medical Payments Center:

When dealing with former veterans – which is, you know, what you do – you should probably learn the phonetic alphabet instead of asking me not to use it and then asking me if I said “S as in Sam or F as in Frank” when I clearly said Sierra Sierra the first time. However, I do appreciate anyone who says “Crap” on the phone when trying to figure out what’s going on with your computer.

Dear Friends:

I love your support and kind words. There is nothing that got me through yesterday better than hearing from you that I would get back on my feet. I know I am a competent, smart, funny, deserving, driven woman because you love me.

I love you too.

Sincerely,

H

 

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I always say that once you break up you really can’t go back. Like, there is a reason you broke up in the first place. I am reminded of that again today. I knew that we weren’t really meant for each other, but on paper we look perfect.

Both sporty.

Both hard working and driven.

Both smart and fun.

Yet, in reality, the dynamic just wasn’t great.

Since I started my job at Nike at the end of June, I have been mostly dissatisfied. I didn’t really want to take the job in the first place. I had worked at Nike before and things were fine for a while and then I just didn’t love it. There are many reasons why Nike and I don’t work, but I think I can mostly sum it up with it just not being a good fit. I love the start-up world and environment and no matter how employee focused Nike is (and they are), they are not a start-up. In the end, I was unhappy – and I wasn’t hiding it. Also, I now feel way less guilty about preferring New Balance Minimus running shoes.

Today, this morning, I was fired. That is so hard to write. I didn’t even write it at first. Then I wrote “let go”. But, no. I was fired. It sucks. I know I was unhappy. I know this probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer from my end, but despite it all – being fired sucks. It was like being broken up with by someone I was totally going to break up with. “I didn’t want to date you anyway.” seemed an undignified response. I returned all of their belongings, retrieved mine, got in my truck and cursed my former boss for making me drive from Vancouver into Beaverton in the morning only to make me have to drive back through rush hour traffic – this would have been more convenient yesterday afternoon, then I could have slept in this morning. It’s a little thoughtless.

In the end, I enjoyed the people I worked with and have made some great new connections and friends.

Now I have a new job: Finding my new work-home. My main focus will be to make sure to trust my instincts.

Also, I have to get my cell phone number back… I hope that’s not difficult.

Today’s WOD Brought to You by the Letter R

R as in Reserve Tank.

To prep for this WOD you must forget to flip your gas tank gauge from Reserve to Tank the last time you’ve filled up. Also, do this WOD in the early morning so that you are bundled up with a sweatshirt underneath your motorcycle riding gear for maximal sweat potential. Finally, be on your way to an important meeting in order to feel the high intensity levels of stress and adrenaline.

Warm-up:

Pull over on the side of the highway making sure you and your motorcycle are safe.

Angrily stomp around your motorcycle and pull your helmet off while shouting Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck.

Text your boyfriend for sympathy.

One Round for time:

(Dressed in full motorcycle gear with 12lb backpack)

Hike 1.5 miles up Sylvan Hill (just off 26W) from Zoo exit to Sylvan exit.

Retrieve 1 gallon of gas. (this will require you to either pay $15 for a gas tank or to leave your drivers license to borrow the tank)

Angrily wonder why your boyfriend has not returned your text.

Hike back downhill with extra weight.

(expert tip: Find a location on your backpack to hang your helmet so that when one arm gets tired from carrying the gallon tank you can switch without spilling gas into your helmet. Don’t wait for spilling to have happened already, because just like with perfumes, when it comes to the scent of gasoline a little goes a long way.)

(It is not a DNF if a kind stranger gives you a ride for about a half mile from when he picks you up to the as close as he can get you to your bike).

Cool Down:

Walk from drop off spot to the motorcycle and put the gallon of gas into the gas tank.

Ride back to the gas station and fill up.

Retrieve your driver’s license and remember the gas guy is trying to be friendly not annoying.

Retrieve text message from boyfriend saying he got your message late and asking if you are OK.

Miss the exit onto the 26W on your way to work – which is fine because riding the back streets is probably more relaxing.

Have a good laugh at yourself with your coworkers.

I’m Bringing Klutzy Back

It’s not so much that nothing’s happened to me since I left Costa Rica… in fact a LOT has happened since then. But, most recently, the things that have happened actually fit in this blog.

About 3 months ago I accidentally tore my oblique while doing sit-ups. Just as I was given the all-clear by doctor, I got into a slight motorcycle accident (bike was totaled, I scraped my knee, bruised my hip and mildly tore muscles in my neck and shoulder). The doctor gave me the all-clear to start up workouts again yesterday.

One day, maybe before I turn 40 next year I will be able to complete a simple activity such as “walking down the completely empty sidewalk in the middle of the day with no obstacles and no drugs in my system on a sunny dry day” without spraining an ankle scuffing a knee and losing skin from my hand.

Today, was not that day.

Tomorrow is looking spurious.