Curiosity is terminal

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Wednesday Work Post

So I have only been semi-employed since last February.

Six years ago my scaffold employer asked me to write a training program for the company.  There had been a bad accident in the company and during the investigation the question, "what training did this employee have?" was asked.  The answer was none, because at the time none was being done in the province.  My boss had been bugging and bugging the union to get some training together and the union had been dragging its feet, so the boss went looking for someone else to do it.  I wrote a 2 week program that turned into 3- 2 week courses for carpenter/scaffolders, a one day inspection course for people who work ON but do not build scaffolds, and a 2 to 5 day course offered to mills and mines and such for their employees to build small, tightly configured scaffolds.  I wrote an in-house fall protection course too. Two years ago the training department was run by me and a department head and we had two other instructors and an administrative assistant.  We had trained over 400 scaffolders and supplied the inspection and in house training to over 200 workers in dozens of companies in the three western provinces. 

 A year and a half ago, the scaffold company dissolved its training department and sold the training to the union.   The union hired the department head full time to get their training division off the ground and me for 24 hours a week to do curriculum development and teach.  Last February they decided the department head could do everything and I was laid off.  

While I was at the scaffold company, I also taught forklift operation, which they offered externally too.  One of our clients was the City.  I began going to their worksites to do the training and I developed a good relationship with their training department, and so when I left the scaffold company, they asked me to continue to do their training through the union.  When I was laid off at the union,  my guy at the City told me he'd continue to use me if I wanted to do my own thing, which I did.  

When I went from 40 to 24 hours a week I found I had too much time on my hands and I was whining about boredom one day to a friend.  She happens to own a yarn store, and she offered me some hours in it.  (Beloved, when I told him I was going to work in the store said, "Oh no. We cannot afford for you to work in a yarn store!") 

So  for nine months I have been teaching forklift, selling yarn and teaching people to knit, and doing the occasional scaffold course for either the union or the scaffold company when they are overwhelmed.  None of it is full time and some weeks all I work are a few shifts in the yarn store.    

I am looking for something else.  In the next few weeks I will submit the last assignment for my provincial instructor's diploma.  I have 15 miscellaneous first and second year courses, mostly in psychology, biology and sociology.  I am a Red Seal carpenter.  I am 49.  

I am feeling quite freaked out, to be honest.  There has not been a great deal of heavy construction in my area for several years now, and there is no word that anything is going to start before spring.  I hate framing and would rather do anything else than build houses. There are currently no jobs available for carpentry/scaffolding, etc instructors anywhere in my area.  Further, I feel quite strongly that I have given enough effort to this construction thing anyway.  It's time to do something else, but I really don't know what the hell that is.  

Monday, 19 October 2015

All I Have to Say About That

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Joey Bats #19

I know, I know. It was three days ago now.  This was a great moment for a Blue Jays fan (not to mention Bautista and the team!) and that is all there is to it.

My mom, at 72, is perhaps the best and most faithful Blue Jays fan in Canada.  She has been watching them since before they won a World Series and has stuck through all the trials and disappointments.  She knows and remembers all the statistics on all the players - and keeps track of most of the rest of the American League.  If you go to mom's house on game day the conversation will have to keep pausing while we catch the action. If you invite mom over to your house on game day, she will go where the tv is, (even if, like my house, it  is in the basement). She may not stay with the tv the whole time she is over, but she will go and look at it fairly often.

My mom's brother is a court reporter. He works for an international company and the last few years he has been working in Singapore and Hong Kong.  He amasses a lot of airline and hotel points.  This past August he gave her a trip to Toronto and a room in a nice hotel.  My dad doesn't fly.  Mom would never have gone alone, so I went with her.

Our hotel was far enough out of downtown that it was about a 50 minute train ride to Union Station.  The first day we went up to Dundas Square - Mom needed to get a Hard Rock Toronto t-shirt for my uncle.  We had a late lunch and then walked to the Stadium.  When we got within sight of the Dome, she said she thought she might cry. Once inside, as we crossed the concourse and the field, bright and green and lovely under the open roof, came into view, she clutched at my arm and really did cry. She was so excited I thought  her knees might actually give out.   That was August 28.  Mom's 72nd birthday.

We saw the whole series with the Detroit Tigers.  On the Friday night the Jays had just finished a fabulous road trip and the fans were overjoyed to have them home.  That might have been the funnest thing I have ever done in my life, spending three hours with 46,000 happy people.  It was definitely the highlight of my mom's decade.  She was excited almost to tears dozens of other times that weekend, but the last and best was when her all time favourite Blue Jay, Mark Buehrle, took the mound on Sunday.  

I remember watching baseball when I was a kid. (I had a rebellious crush on George Brett when I was  10? 12?)  I was never as interested as my mom, but I like a good game and I cheer on the Jays because they are mom's team.  Mom's been on the bandwagon for as long as I can remember, but she has always held seats for the rest of us.  I haven't missed a game since she invited me to go to Toronto, and every game I see on tv now is so much better because I can conjure up that Friday night in Toronto.  

I love watching the Blue Jays this last half season.  They seem absolutely connected to each other.  Every great bullet Bautista throws in to third, or Donaldson fires to first, every lightning quick play by some combination of Goins, Tulo, Colabello, Smoak and Pennington, every great diving catch made by Pillar (2/3 of the planet is covered by water; the other 1/3 is covered by Pillar!) and every great at bat (Encarnacion hat trick anyone?) just looks like choreography.  Having been in that crowd of 46,000 happy fans, I am happy for them that this is happening.  I am happy for these Jays, who also seem like genuinely nice guys (R.A. Dickey diving into the stands to hug the fans).  And I am happy for my mom, who is able to just really enjoy great ball playing - and this time for a longer season!

PS.  Read my friend Ken's great post on the Blue Jays from a few weeks ago - complete with George Carlin's wonderful take on why Baseball is better than Football!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

So Much Ado

All right, I suppose I will wade into the fray on this one.  I don't really get the problem.

How is this

more problematic than this?

One is a fashion accessory and the other is a religious statement. Except, apparently the other is not necessarily a religious statement.  It is a convention, a tradition.  It has not really been a fact in my lifetime, but there was a time when western women and men covered their heads as a matter of convention and tradition.  

Oh, but the other up there, that is more than just a matter of tradition and convention.  There is a reverence in that.  When a woman dons that other bit of fabric, she is expressing a kind of obedience, of preserving something of herself.  Huh. You mean like this? 

It really is about The Other, though, isn't it? 

I hope to god that the stupid conservatives step in it again before the election, because I'm scared of the kind of country they seem to want.  I'm pretty sure history has seen this before, and it has never turned out all that well.