Welcome to my New Home!

I have moved back to my birthplace - a town of about 1800 in rural New Brunswick, Canada.

I have been gone for 20 years working in various cities, but not a lot has changed around here. People still leave their keys in their cars and their front doors unlocked...people still walk into your house without knocking and help themselves to a cup of coffee....and neighbors are both nosey AND some of the most helpful and wholesome folks you will ever find!

I am not sure if I will fit in here. I am used to "breakfast, lunch and dinner", not "breakfast, dinner and supper" which leads to all kinds of confusion when my friends show up at noon for a meal I was making at 6pm. I am also used to wearing $100 Lululemon yoga pants not $15 WalMart specials. (Not that there is anything wrong with WalMart!).

I have a convertible, which is completely inappropriate for a town that has snow 6 months of the year. I loved it when the old-timers would say, half-smiling, "So, you gonna be driving that car this winter?" like I might have just fell off the turnip truck the night before. I'd make my big blue eyes as big as I could as I would sweetly reply "Do you think I could....?"

Well, I WILL adjust, I WILL! One way or another, I want to be part of this town. I want to "be the me I was when I was child", not the one I created while living in the city.

So, let me share my experiences with you, as I adjust to this new, but old, environment.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Top 9 Wishes

My drive from home to work is often up to an hour each way. I tried to shorten the drive time but driving as fast as may car would go, but that didn’t work out well. One day when I was high-tailing it to work, I passed the only other vehicle on the road, who was going a snail’s pace at 120 km/hr. I almost ran over top of the car as I sped up on him at 160, but slowed to a leisurely 140, and passed. As I zipped by, I only then realized I had just passed an RCMP forensics van. I had a split second to decide if I should slam on the brakes or keep going. I figured a bunch of forensics nerds surely would not be able to give me a ticket. Well, my judgment call on that one was not good. I didn’t get a ticket, but I did get a good scolding by a forensics gentleman who is not a nerd, and who does indeed have the ability to give offenders like myself a fine. Oops.

During my long drives, I start to make lists of things that I wish would happen, or wish would be. Daydreams of a finer life.

 Here are my top 9 wishes:

1)      I wish that the Star Trek do-dad that can transport people from here to there in no time, really existed. That would make my 2 hour daily commute much more manageable, and I would have more time to spend on my hair in the morning.

2)      That one could achieve the positive health benefits of exercise just by thinking about it really, really hard.

3)That I could quickly and discretely change my skin color depending on my mood. Sometimes I like  the tanned look…sometimes, I like pale.

4)      That more people would be like me and send NICE emails to HR about my manager, instead of calling HR because of a general belief that all Managers are notoriously evil and should be destroyed.

5)      That there would be more “whoopsa-daisies” on the road to make commutes more interesting Whoopsa-daisies are those unexpected lifts and dips in the road that make your care weightless for a few brief moments. It’s kind of like flying without the expensive airfare and luggage charges. If wish #1 came true, this wish would be unnecessary.

6)      People would shut the heck up and stop trying to prove their superior intelligence. As Steven Covey wrote, “Seek first to understand, and then be understood”. Many people’s rule is “Talk their ear off until their eyes glaze over, and then talk some more until they are rendered numb and unresponsive”. If a fella has to work that hard at trying to show they are intelligent, the fella is probably a dolt.

7)      Projection would no longer occur. Did you ever have anyone say, “you shouldn’t eat that candy bar”? And you are left wondering, why do they think it is any of their business what I ingest?  The reason they are commenting, is that their internal running commentary is really directed towards themselves, but their internal lecture overflows out of their mouth and into your space. I call this the “Hector Projector” phenomenon.  Projecting your own beliefs onto someone else. Whenever you hear someone say “you shouldn’t…..” say to them, “Yes, Hector” and laugh maniacally. Hopefully, they will leave you alone from then on.

8)      That the weeds in my ditch would be zapped into outer space, and be replaced by lovely lupins.
9)    That I could be a writer as a full-time job. I would travel the world signing aoutographs. But I woulnd't have to drive or fly around the world. I would use that Star Trek do-dad to transport myself here and there in no time.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Red Light, Green Light

In my job, I am a Manager of a Driver Examiner. I had a look at the tests that she gives to people regarding road signs and rules of the road questions. I am pretty sure I would pass any of her tests with a little bit of studying, but there is a fundamental problem with knowing the rules of the road; the problem is, that *I* know the rules of the road, but everyone else either doesn’t know them, or at least they don’t choose to follow them.

When I lived in Toronto, I could maneuver across 5 lanes of traffic likety-split, and my heart would not skip a beat. I could be driving at warp speed down the highway and come upon a sudden traffic jam, and not blink an eye. Last fall when Greg and I visited Toronto, my little niece decided to open the car door to throw her gum out while we were hurtling down the dangerous Don Valley Parkway. I did make her keep her hands in her lap the rest of the trip, but the situation was more funny than scary. When I asked her why she opened the door, she pointed out that her Dad had told her not to throw her gum out the window, so she decided to throw it out the door instead. That logic makes sense, at least to a 7-year old.

In P-A, the “local rules of the road” frighten me more than anything in the city. Come to a 4-way stop in P-A, and people start waving to each other to go first. Politeness is the rule here, over the proper rules of the road. People seem to give preferential treatment to some combination of: those driving nice cars, to people they know, to cute girls, to cute boys, and to really old people. But this just confuses me! If I arrive at a 4-way stop after another car, and the other person waves me through, indicating I should proceed first, I can’t help but wonder “Is this a trick”?!? I am not sure what kind of trick, but …. are people *really* just that nice?  But, the thing is, I am a simple person. If there are rules, and everyone knows the rules, everyone should follow the rules. I don’t have the logic skills to think up my own rules, or to understand non-verbal rules like wild-hand-waving at the end of the bridge.

Last week I got completely freaked out on my way to work. I drove the road I always drive to work. I came upon the stop sign I always come upon, but instead of just a stop sign, there was a blinky red light overhead. But wait, there’s more. I realized later that if I approach the intersection from either of the other 2 directions, there are blinky yellow lights, where before, there had been nothing.
A busy intersection in Perth-Andover. 

What this tells me is that people don’t know to heed a stop sign, so maybe the visual cues needed to be doubled-up…stop sign AND a red blinky light might get people to REALLY stop when requested.  And putting in yellow blinky lights must mean that there were too many instances of people coming at each other from different directions, pausing, then being super-polite to each other, waving to each other to proceed. Maybe all that non-verbal wild-hand-waving became too much for people, and so someone thought blinking yellow lights would help people prioritize who does what, when.

The only problem is, you give 2 people, from a super-polite community, yellow caution blinky lights, then that means it gives them even more reason to be polite and considerate and hesitate....we could end up with a traffic jam at the yellow blinky lights as people start the wild hand-waving to communicate who should proceed, with no movement from either side.

And the whole time, I will be sitting watching this at the stop sign with the red blinky light. Someone made sure as heck that I will stop, but someone forgot to put in a green light to tell me when to go!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Going on Tour

When I lived in Toronto, I was really excited to read that Kid Rock was going on tour, and that he was actually going to be in Toronto! I got tickets, and went to the show. It was a while back, and he was playing in a really large bar-type venue and there were no seats – we all had to watch the show standing up.

We were so far back in line, I thought there was no hope of me even getting a glimpse of him….I am only 5-foot-2, which means I can only see over the heads of a small select group of people…..those under age 10.

As it turns out, I am not taller than the crowd that attends Kid Rock concerts, but I am smarter. Everyone was crowded around the stage area immediately inside the entrance, and the crowd was about 40 people deep away from the stage. I walked to the *other* side of stage, and it was wide open. I got to stand right up against the stage, although there were several times during the concert when blond, braless ladies elbowed me out of the way to flash Kid Rock their newly purchased frontal accessories.

Now that I love in P-A, going on tour has a slightly different connotation.

When in a campground drinking, going on tour means you walk to all of the camp sites and introduce yourself to complete strangers, see who you know that they know, and toast to whatever strikes your fancy. I went on tour in a campground a few summers ago in P-A, and met some great people, none of whom I remembered the next morning.

There was *almost* a flood in P-A in April, just a few weeks ago. Roads were blocked off, ice and water flowing where we should be driving. On Thursday evening of Easter week-end, I had to drive an extra 45 minutes to get home, across bumpy roads, some with ice just off to the edge of my tires. I sure went on tour that day, … instead of taking me 45 minutes to get back home from work, it took me twice as long. I am really not complaining, because I got to go on tour. And that’s a good thing, right?

Easter week-end, we couldn’t leave Tobique Narrows to get to town, without going on tour. So, we decided to go on tour to see what we could see. Greg, always the metal detecting enthusiast, decided to temporarily halt the tour near where an ice jam was located the previous day, so he could see if any treasures were brought downstream with the ice. He could only dig about an inch down before he hit frozen ground. I have a picture of him digging about 3 feet from an iceburg the size of my Ford Focus. It’s not surprising he didn’t find any treasures.

That week-end was the first of week-end of us going on tour. Sometimes we go on tour to see stuff, and sometimes we are driving across the countryside aimlessly looking for adventure. Sometimes when we are on tour, we stop at people’s house for a surprise visit. People do that here in P-A. Back in Toronto, I didn’t stop at a friend’s house unless we had an appointment. Here, people will let you in their house while they are still in their jammies with their hair sticking straight up in the air.

So far when I have been on tour this season, we’ve seen numerous deer, flooded roads, a log jam, iceburgs and docks in the river, a farm show with big orange machines which are used for goodness knows what, and a house on fire. I think I need a break from all this touring…it’s really quite exhausting! The only way I am going to be up for going on tour again this season is if Kid Rock calls and wants me to tag along with him.