West Coast vibe

We’ve been here a little over two years now, and I’m starting to know my way around the place. Somewhat.

In those two years Tara and I have found work, Liam’s had two years of school(can’t believe that he’s going into grade 3) and Evie’s grown by leaps and bounds.

We’ve found a place of our own and I’ve adapted nicely to a daily commute.

All in all a pretty good start to a new life in the new world(as such).

There are downsides. Gas is crazy expensive, some groceries seem to be, housing is out of this world and for whatever reason the average wage hasn’t caught up to the living expenses.

But we’re surviving and thriving for the moment. It’ll be better when both kids are in school, and we’re getting some good help from Tara’s family.

Liam’s tried some new things. He’s joined a swim club this summer and he’s really enjoyed it. Granted he likes playing video games a bit more. No Fortnight though, it was giving him some odd dreams. We think we’ll put him in gymnastics in the fall.

I’m joining a D&D group next month and I’m pretty jazzed about that. It’s with one of Tara’s coworkers so we’ll see what happens.

I think Tara will take some art classes as she’s been talking about that for some time now. I hope she does, she’s a great artist and really loves it.

That’s it for now. As usual I hope to do this more often, but that’s been said before 🙄

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MEC

The last time we checked in with our intrepid hero, he was whining about something!

But since then much time has passed, and not much has been done. I’ve been looking for work and had many interviews. Some on the phone, some in person, and for the most part it was fruitless. 

I should just point out how much I don’t enjoy looking for work. It’s a lot of effort and anticipation and usually ends up not going anywhere. But, as I am not independently wealthy, my quest has to continue. All the way into the new year. 

The process would go something like this(for those that are sorta new to looking for work):

  1. Submit resume
  2. Get a call/email about an interview
  3. Have an interview over the phone with someone that’s not qualified to hire you
  4. Have another interview, on the phone or in person with someone that is qualified to hire you
  5. Wait
  6. Wait
  7. Wait
  8. Get some update stating a good thing or a bad thing(usually bad)
  9. GOTO 1.

But sometimes step 8 doesn’t happen, and you’re left in some kind of limbo. This can happen after step 3 as well. If step 8 happens, and it’s not good news, then there’s an excuse as to pay, fit or something else (like age, but they don’t admit that). But it’s those that never respond that annoy me the most. 

Actually, the only thing worse about people not responding to you about interview results are the ones that dangle hope in front of you, like some kind of cheesecake. Not sure why you would want to dangle cheesecake, but I think I just want cheesecake. Anyway. 

It’s happened to me. The hiring manager said all was a go…. then there was a hiring freeze. Then that freeze was over, then they didn’t know how to hire me(result of a corporate buy out) but said they still want me and are coming up with a plan. They didn’t, but called later to tell me that they still wanted me. Then called later still to say that they couldn’t possibly do anything until the end of January, but still wanted me. 

Any guesses that they called near the end of January? Yea, no. Oh, and it all started at the end of October….

So I went back to step 1. 

As I was doing this, I had a guy over at a recruitment company looking for me as well. In fact, most of the interviews I got were from him. The advantage there is that I tend to skip the phone interview and go straight to an in person one. So that’s what happened with MEC. 

Before I go on I have to be honest and say that if it wasn’t for the recruiter guy showing me this job, I never would have considered MEC, or any other retail chain for that matter. It never really entered my mind that they would need IT support help. So there’s your thought of the day, everyone needs IT support. 

The first interview was with a hiring manager, not the manager, but one of them(the actual manager was on vacation). That went well, we had a lovely chat about all sorts of things, all the while being bounced from one meeting room to another as she didn’t feel like going up to the fourth floor. We ended up in the lobby to finish. And at the end she wanted me to meet with the other manager. This is always good. 

And the next week I did. And we chatted, but stayed in the same meeting room. I should also point out that not a lot of technical stuff was discussed, mostly process and attitude. 

Then I get a call saying they want a third interview. By this time I can make the drive without GPS. I meet with a manager and someone from the team. Again, not a lot of technical discussion. This was the shortest of the three. 

I drive home in time to pick Liam up from school. On the way back I get a call stating I have the job! Now to do some paperwork (had to get a business license again). 

It’s starting out as a three month contract, but from the getgo they stated the wanted someone full time. I suspect that this is their way of doing probation. Likely easier to not renew a contract than to fire someone. And that’s ok with me. 

So I’m working at MEC headquarters in Vancouver. Something I never thought I’d say. And it’s great. I can’t stress that enough. From the first day I felt really welcomed, and even after nearly two weeks I still feel that way. The people are friendly, helpful and always thanking each other(and me) for the work that is being done. I honestly think that I’ve gotten more positive feedback now than I have over the last 8 years at IBM. 

Oh, this is a thing you should know. The people at MEC headquarters pronounce it like M.E.C, like you would IBM. Not MEC like mech(or eyebim). Although they are starting to accept the other way. 

The building is beautiful, all wood and glass. 4 floors and coffee on every level(espresso on 2 and 4). Not a lot in terms of free things, like snacks or other food, but I’m good with that. Other places seem to push that a little too much. Probably subitly suggesting how long you’re expected to stay each night. MEC really seems to push the work/life balance thing. I don’t see any late night emails(and I can even check that, if I wanted) or even a lot of protocol for working remotely. There is a department laptop in case of travel (I guess) but that’s it. I have a desktop again, and not even full admin access(which I kinda miss). 

The commute is also something I’m getting used too. No more rolling out of bed and into the kitchen to work.  I actually have to travel. By SkyTrain at that. And that’s working as well as the train almost takes me to the front door. Only about 5 minutes of walking. Tara picks me up after work and is starting to drop me off in the morning, and then about 45 minutes of travel in between. 

So all in all I’m very excited to start this new chapter in my life. It’ll take some getting used to, but I think I can make a good home here and provide well for my family. 

No news on discounts yet, I’ll ask about that in three months 😉

DTE

Like most newer vehicles the van has various display settings that I can cycle through, like trips, temp, speed and DTE, which I assume stands for Distance Till Empty. 

This is the setting I’ve been using the most on this trip as it’s a good idea to know how much has you have left when deciding to skip a gas station. 

It’s been working rather well until the day before last. Trying to make up some time I skipped a gas station knowing i had about  100km left. Well, the next town had no services. Neither did the next town  looking diwn, I had about 40km left. Then, it stated LOWFUEL. Last time I looked, that wasn’t a number. And there was no way to change it. 

So it was 20km to the next town. Did I have enough gas?

LOWFUEL 

Dunno. 

Maybe it was a Peril Sensitive kind of setting. “you don’t really want to know how little fuel you have left”. But I did! But it won’t tell me. Then the low fuel light came on. Awesome, I’m low on fuel, let’s check the DTE to see how much I have left. 

LOWFUEL 

Yes, I know. Very helpful, thanks. 

I did manage to drift to a gas station. And it appears that I have a 70 litre tank. Good to know. 

Go West

Life is peaceful there….

And now it’s stuck in your head, you’re welcome. 

It is a surreal feeling to have all of ones physical possessions packed in a trailer and driving west to a new start. 

I almost feel like a pioneer. In a minivan, and unlikely to die of dysentery(unless I have too much Tim Horton coffee). 

I’ve been waiting all day to write that, and it was worth it. 

Driving in the prairies after three days in Northern Ontario is so peaceful. Just flat(ish) land and a big sky. It just goes on and on, and I can’t wait for more of it. Also, terrible thunder storms and a little fishtailing. But we’re ok. 

Spent part of the day in Winnipeg at the Assiniboine Park. Very cool place and wish we had more time t check it out. 

Tomorrow we’re off to Medicine Hat. 

Did I mention it was odd driving in three different provinces today? Because it was. And now a fourth tomorrow. 

Ever closer to our destination. 

Or

You have died of dysentery

Three days in Ontario 

The end of day three is here. 

I’m sitting in a hotel room in the dark while Liam and Evelyn are sleeping. This is the second night with separate hotel rooms, and I think we’ll keep it this way. 

I snore and Tara is a light sleeper these days. We’re at our best if we sleep in separate rooms. The first night was rough as we were in the same room and Evelyn was having trouble sleeping as well, so it was a bad night. Last night was a late check-in, but rocking rooms (Northern Lights motel just outside of Wawa, totally worth it) and we all just crashed hard and work up refreshed. Tonight we were supposed to be in one room, but decided against that at the last minute. 

Not to say that this Best Western is the best choice, but it’s what was available. 

We’re in Dryden, did I mention that?

Tomorrow is a two stop, two three province trip. First stop is Winnipeg and then on to Moosomin. A lot of driving, 7 hours total, but a nice stop along the way. 

I think the next day is a little lighter, 6 hours through the prairies which is much easier than Northern Ontario by a long shot. Should save a little on gas too. 

Anyway, there’s been a timezone change and I’m starting to feel the effects of the original time zone, so off to bed. 

Final Goodbyes

The trailer is rented, the final packing is under way, and we’ve made some trips tot he dump and the domation centers to help clear out the house.And through it all I haven’t really had much time to take it all in.

People keep asking me how I’m doing, and honestly, I’m just tired. It’s a full time job(currently my only one) to get this all done and really, there’s just no down time. I’m really looking forward to driving for 6-7 hours a day because it doesn’t involve packing and will likely be more relaxing than anything that we’ve been doing lately.

Tara should be given all the credit for organizing and getting things done. I’d like to think I’m the heavy lifing guy as all my past moves have gone so poorly. And of course she’s running on empty as well.

So how do I feel about all this?

I’ve been in this house for 10 years and there’s a lot of memories wrapped up in here. and it’s going to be hard to put them all behind me. It’s also going to be a big shift in”freedoms” that I enjoyed here.

Like not always having to wear pants. I liked that.

So it’s getting hard to say goodbye to all of this. And it’s not just the house of course. I’ve been in Ottawa for 26 years, and I’m finally starting to know my way around the place. Now I’ll have to start all over and find the good places to be. At least with that I’ll have some help.

And of course the people. Some tell me they are envious of what we’re doing. Going off, starting fresh. They wish they could do the same. They feel locked down where they are. And well, they might be right, but they’re here for a reason, and that reason is always a good one.

We’re moving for our own reasons, not just for the sake of moving. And they’re good reasons too.

So tomorrow morning, we double check that we didn’t forget anything, lock the house up for the last time, and say goodbye.

Feeling weird just writing that….