Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Late-to-Mid 20s

My first trip home from out west happened to coincide with my 27th birthday.  On one hand I just can’t believe I’m actually 27 and, on the other, I was already thinking of myself as 27.  Except that before I would think of myself as 27 and then remember – with satisfaction and relief – that I was, in fact, still 26.  That is no longer the case.
Since visiting home is an infrequent opportunity these days I tried to make the most of it.  Still, the time raced by and here I sit back in Old Butt/Red Deer missing family and friends but glad to have the traveling part over with.  Going home made me realize just how far away I am and has gotten me questioning how long I really want to be way out here.  
Of course, we did Soo things:  out for a tasty breakfast at Gilbertson’s maple syrup pancake house of awesomeness on St. Joe’s Island; Mrs. B’s pizza; across the river (ie. over the bridge to the US side) for some shopping.  My favourite American shopping being, of course, visiting one of their grocery stores and marveling and the sheer number of flavours that mini-wheats and pop tarts are produced in on that side.  For my birthday a had a scrumptious lunch with lovely ladies at the Soo’s “big city” restaurant.
My dad spoiled me and cooked up a wicked BBQ dinner for my birthday.  We had a fun dinner of friends and family including 4 adorable and hilarious little kidlets.  
And I got my birthday wish to drive my dad’s new side-by-side through the mud.  In case you weren’t aware (since I wasn’t), a side-by-side is a crossover between a golf cart and a very rugged 4-wheeler.  It goes up steep hills and through multiple feet of mud.  My goal was to get as wet and muddy as possible.

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Toronto for my Birthday

For my birthday this year Air Canada got me the city of Toronto for 24hrs.  When booking my flight from Edmonton to “the Soo” I would have planned a day layover in “the centre of the universe” but, alas, did not know how to make that happen.  So on to the red eye I went Saturday night expecting to touch down for a brief 2 hours in my beloved urban centre.  At 6am (EST) – 4am my time – I alighted from the flight, turned on my phone, and received a text kindly informing me that my flight was canceled and rescheduled 36 HOURS LATER.  My first reaction was a bit of disbelief and then some frustration – no on likes to be told that their 7 hour trip has sudden become a two day affair.  With 40 flights canceled that day – fog, fire on a runway, Air Canada pilots calling in sick – the airport was inundated with frazzled travelers looking for answers (and baggage).  We were directed to a booth of white phones from the 90s and told to keep dialing a three digit code to get in touch with Air Canada.  After 45 minutes of not getting through the crowd gave up.  It began to dawn on me that a 5 hour layover a Pearson would be an annoying in convenience, 36 hours in Toronto could be a gift.

I called up my credit card company and checked my insurance.  So much love for my Avion card.  Booking with that card meant that all of my travel is covered for delays.  They offered me $250 a day while I was stranded so I decided to embrace the opportunity and book myself a hotel room at the schwanky Courtyard Marriott downtown.

Of course, there had to be a hitch.  At least, an almost-hitch.  They instructed everyone from a canceled flight to head down to baggage claims and wait.  Down there I was told repeatedly that the bags would come but it could be a few hours.  Great.  Back upstairs I waited on hold with AC and ate some over-priced breakfast.  Back downstairs to wait more and still nothing.  Finally, I approached the baggage desk again asking for an ETA and was informed “oh, they aren’t sending the bags up anymore, they are going to just send them to destination”.  Um….excuse me?  You give me a 36 hour layover and then you HOLD MY BAG HOSTAGE?!?  And if it weren’t for Ron at the baggage desk I would never fly AC again*.  He took pity on me (perhaps smelled my breath and considered my need for a hair wash) and radioed the luggage room and worked his magic to get my solo blue roller bag sent up to me.  HERO!

The day was then filled with a cappucino at JSLPA’s apartment (thanks drummerboy!), semi-hot-tubbing and krispy kreme eating with JSLPA, Hi-C and Jewlia, frisbee throwing followed by Ethiopian food with Hi-C, Barbie Doll drinks at Zelda’s joined by Hi-C, RoRoW, and P-Bag, and lastly (but not leastly) a sleepover with MMM aka Bethaf.  On top of all of that I finally got in touch with Air Canada (after 1.25 hours on hold) to find out they could get me on the flight at noon the next day instead of midnight.  Score!

Thank you, Air Canada, for the unexpected birthday gift of time with friends and a quick trip to my favourite city.

Barbie Doll anyone?  They come with swords of gummy bears.  You can’t say no.

I ❤ Toronto (a view from the hotel)

*AC, you’ll be getting an email from insisting you put him in charge of your company. Or consider a raise at least.

Closing the Red Deer Chapter

Yesterday a hospital in Edmonton, Alberta made an extremely intelligent decision and hired me as a full-time, PERMANENT speech therapist on their neuro team.  Congratulations, undisclosed hospital location.  It all happened quickly but things have been brewing since the dysphagia jedi master sent me a lil’ tip about this opportunity last month.  I applied on a whim because, well, when an opportunity presents itself you have to jump on it like a bouncy castle.  It was a long shot but apparently sometimes long shots pay off.  Let’s be honest – it was the most difficult interview I have ever had.  It definitely put some mega-doubts in my mind about my candidacy.  For April 2012 the DapperDame will be officially an Edmontonian.

Of course this career triumph is bittersweet.  I really like the team in Red Deer and I have made friends here (as I’ll discuss later, my housing situation is prime), I have even started committing myself to volunteering.  It was definite inner turmoil choosing to leave a contract unfinished here and to tell my boss but, in the end, this is the best choice for me.  I belong in the city while I’m still young and this job is a great career move – I’ll learn so much and, if it comes to it, would be a wonderful resume builder.  Permanency was a major draw too.  I’m an adult now so I have to start thinking pensions and *yawn* RRSPs.

As for moving, for the past 6 months I have been spoiled in the living situation department – decent rent gets me a house and one roommate, a hot tub, a parking space, TV, netflix, utilities, laundry, my very own bathroom…the list goes on.  Moving to the “big” city means more money gets you less.  My massive cheap side is at war with my crabby adult side that has grown accustomed to a certain quality of life.  Gone are the days when I would tolerate sharing a kitchen with 4 others people or walking down the street for laundry.

Right now my goals are thus – and it really limits the ads to which I will reply:
1) to live close enough to walk to work (no more than 25-30 min)
2) a parking space (no street parking for this girl)
3) laundry (at least in the building, preferably in-suite)
4) my own bathroom (not a dealbreaker but I sure do like this…)
5) already furnished (with fairly nice furniture, a girl has to have standards)
6)  a house hippo

Antarctica – Now in Calgary

This weekend was my first foray back to Calgary since the summer I spent “recruiting” for Jesus there back in 2005.  It was a quick trip with a truck-ful of sound equipment so the roomie could DJ a wedding….AT THE ZOO.  It was a bit of a bait and switch because there weren’t actually any animals involved – it was the botanical area of the zoo.  Except for a lone turtle in the pond it was all vegetation.  After hours of set up and take down for about 5 people who danced the reward was CALGARY ZOO – which we may or may not have weaseled into for free by sweet talkin’ the security guard.

The zoo has some wicked animals and a really cheeky elephant but the best part is easily the new penguin exhibit opened about a fortnight ago.  You can get just a few feet from the penguins and watch them frolick in the water.  A few attempted escape into the crowd and made it 3/4 of the way over the tank edge.