I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Sunday, August 30, 2009


It seems I may have forgot to mention a rather important bit of information.

I got a call from the head of HR at Disney a couple of days after my email about being happy to progress from coordinator to Project manager. She told me that the two who interviewed me decided that they would rather hire someone right out of school with a Project Manager course certification. They are going to rename the job to Jr. Project Manager. I had mentioned in my email to her what she had told me the creator of Club Penguin had said to her after the project got canceled - word to the effect that; 'find another position for her in the company. I don't want to lose her.', and asked if that meant I could expect some sort of job if this one didn't work out. She say's that, even though she 'would feel very honored if he said that' about her, it doesn't carry any weight. Since Disney took over, he doesn't have the authority to force someone in another department to hire me. Great. She tells me to keep my eye on the job website and she will keep my resume on file. And that she is looking out for me. As nice as that is to say, it boils down to no job with them at this time. I am having a hard time not getting discouraged.

The sound mixer I met who works for them hears about it and messages me on FaceBook. He tells me that I should come with Shonah as her guest to a work picnic that is being held later in the week. He seems surprised that I didn't know about it. I text Shonah and tell her what he just said and ask if I can go. She calls me back and tells me that she was going to ask me, but she hadn't signed up to go herself so she had to make sure it was ok for her to go first. It is and she wants me to go.

I go. The sound mixer seemed to think that being there would kind of put my face in theirs again and also show that I am really keen to work there. I see the head of HR and say hello to her but she is super busy with the food and barely acknowledges me. I get something to drink and line up with Shonah and her friends for a hot dog and we go sit on a blanket on the grass to eat. Unfortunately, the guy who interviewed me the first time around is on vacation so isn't there. I would really liked to have talked to him. I stay about an hour and a half or so and then Shonah is ready to go and so am I. I don't feel like going made a speck of difference.


A very young couple have moved into the basement suite. They flew in from Toronto with four suitcases between them and an uncle picked them up and brought them here in his truck. She had called that morning to make sure I would be home to give them the keys. When they arrive I take them down back to the suite and show them in. They don't have a stick of furniture. Apparently they have been looking at the local classifieds online and he takes them right back out to get a futon they found in one of them. The next afternoon I am sitting out on the deck, trying to write my ten pages, when I see him pull in with them again, two new bikes in the back of his truck. As the guys unload them, she takes a few bags of groceries out of the cab along with a laundry hamper full of household supplies. I stand up and walk to the rail.

"Hi!" I call down. They look up at me, "Oh, hi!" "Say, I was just thinking. I am going to go garage sale-ing on Saturday to find some books to read. Would you like to come along and see if you can find anything you might need?" "Oh sure," they both answered. "Great. I plan to leave early, eight o'clock. Can you handle that on a Saturday morning?" "For sure." the fellow answers, " Thanks!" "No problem." I reply. And they go inside.

A bit later I am in the kitchen. The son comes up for something to eat. I point to the desk where I put the kitty collar I found. "I found that laying on the side of the road. Is it Jasmine's?" He picks it up. "No. This isn't hers." I breathe a sigh of relief. "I can't imagine where she is. She isn't coming for me." "I don't think she's in the house," he replies, " but it's so strange because she almost never goes out and when she does she comes right back." I tell him I sent an email to his mom asking what color the cat's collar is but didn't mention that she's gone missing again.

Friday night I set my cell phone alarm and it doesn't go off. I check why and I thought I changed the time to 7 but it still reads 8. Hmmm. Good thing I am up early anyway. I get ready to go garage sale-ing and then take the car around to the back driveway and drive up the steep grade to the basement suite door. It's open and they are ready to go. I have a notebook full of garage sale addresses I pulled off of the internet last night right before I went to bed. The young hubby is armed with GPS on his iPhone and the young wife is in the back with a map. We are good to go.

It's a disappointing day. I can't find a single book by the two authors I am looking for; Catherine Cookson and Dick Francis. I do find a paperback copy of Twilight, and I buy it for .50c because I want to know what all of the fuss is about. I find four other books for the same price at various other sales that look promising but I am very disappointed not to find any by CC. The young couple find a DVD player for $2., a globe for $1, and a small variety of housewares. But really, overall it was only a good day to garage sale if you were looking for child and infant items. There were scads of that, very, very cheap and in great condition. I almost broke down and bought a tiny pair of Converse-like runners but restrained myself. Shonah wears Converse all the time and I thought it would be great to give them to her one day when she had a baby. But that is so far off it's just silly to buy them now.

While we are out I get a phone call from a producer with Front Line Pictures and he wants to know my availability for a show on the island. Wide open....wide, wide open. I ask about accommodations and they have rented 3 large houses. The one I would stay in is right on the water, with a hot tub, and five bedrooms that would house the makeup and wardrobe girls as well. Fabulous! I know both keys for those departments on this show and it would be a blast. He tells me I should hear from the Line Producer today or tomorrow. I am excited.

At noon we give up on the garage sales. I take the couple to the grocery store so they can stock up on heavier items that would be a pain to try to get home on a bike. They are so grateful. I don't mind in the least. It's great to have the company.

When I get home, there's an email from the lady of this house and she confirms that the cat's collar is indeed pink with white polka dots. My heart sinks. She says the son had emailed her so she knows the cat is missing. She goes on to tell me that it's not my fault. They know the screen comes loose on the bottom of the door and didn't tell me that it can be tucked back into the frame. I still feel bad.

I cook up some salmon Donna gave me with a box of scalloped potatoes for dinner. It's tasty and Buttons, the other cat, enjoys bits of salmon I feed him. I clean up and then start reading Twilight. I don't put it down all evening. I find a HUGE logic error in it though and that bugs me. Aren't editors the publishing world's equivalent of script supervisors? Shouldn't they have caught that?

I go to bed at around midnight and wake up at three thirty with my guts in a roil. Great. Food poisoning. I spend the next two hours in and out of the bathroom. At about 6 am it dawn on me that the boxed scalloped potatoes probably had MSG in them. I go look at the second box I bought and, sure enough. I hate MSG. It should be illegal to use it.

Normal view with some smoke haze........................................View today with extreme smoke haze.

There is such a heavy haze today, the sun is barely managing to make it's presence felt through it. I look on line to see where the fire is and find out that smoke from fires nowhere near enough to be a threat has blown into the valley here and settled. They don't expect it to clear until the middle of next week.

Due to the lack of sleep I decide to skip church. I get up at about 9 and make a cup of tea and sit out on the deck and continue reading Twilight. It's not a half bad story really. I am actually enjoying it. Shonah texts me at about 10:30 to ask if I am in church and if I want her to come over for lunch. I text her back that 'no I'm not. And yes I'd love that.' I then text her again and ask if she wants chicken strips and yam fries or spaghetti, as that's about all the food I have. She texts me back 'chicken strips and what do we need to make a peach pie?' I look around the kitchen and text her. 'Crisco in the blue box, 10 peaches, and ice cream.' She texts back that she'll bring all that with her. I am looking forward to having her here and hanging out a bit this afternoon.

While I am blogging this, the phone rings and it's Ron Oliver, my favourite director. "Hi there!" I answer. "I just wanted to let you know that I am in Palm Springs and I am standing in Costco in front of a very large display of Malibu Rum and the large bottle, one point seven five liters or something, is fifteen ninety nine." He says without preamble. "Oh thanks a lot," I reply, "called just to gloat did you?" "That's right," he says, "Hang on a minute, I am just talking to my boyfriend." I then hear him say, "I just called Sandra Montgomery to tell her that this bottle of rum here is fifteen ninety nine. It sells for fifty five dollars in Canada." I am laughing on my end. He comes back, "Sorry dear, just had to tell the boyfriend who I am talking to. He is holding a six foot lava lamp he is thinking about buying." I laugh, "Where is he going to put it?" "Oh I will tell him where to put it," he replies, "and it won't be anywhere near eight-oh-one I tell you that." Eight-oh-one is the number on his house and how he refers to it all the time. I laugh again. I tell him about the potential job on the island and he wishes me luck. "Well I must go. I just called to tease you with the Malibu, bye bye and dazzle the producer with your personality and the job will be yours." and he's gone. I love that guy.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Heaven help me, I've lost one of the cats. Again.

There are two of them here. Buttons, the bigger one, is allowed outside and likes to hunt for mice and stuff. The other, Jasmine, is an inside cat only and is very, very timid. I hardly see hair nor hide of her other than when she comes around in the early evening looking for her spoon-full of canned food. But for three days she didn't come. I called for her several times throughout the day but didn't really expect she'd answer as she's just not that type of kitty, at least not for me. I was told not to worry if I didn't see her, she likes to hide out. But after three days of not eating, I was getting worried. The son here noticed she wasn't around and so went looking on day three. He found her locked up in the garage, scared and hungry. I guess she got in there when he went to the freezer for some of the boxed meals his mom stocked up on, and he didn't notice.

She couldn't wait to dig into her food and then curled up for a long nap in her carpet covered box on a stick thing (I'm not a cat person, OK? I have no idea what they are called), and that was the last time I saw her. It's now been another two days. Yesterday, in the cool of the evening, I went to the mailbox to get the mail and saw, at the side of the road, a little pink collar with a bell attached to it. Oh no. As I bent to pick it up, I tried to recall what the color of her collar, with a bell, is. I am thinking yellow. I hope I am right.

I am sitting in a lamp-lit living room with the TV on at low volume for company, I am on line, reading some stuff, and I become increasingly aware of a strange high-pitched sound outside the bay window. I mute the TV and listen for a moment. It is right outside the window, which is three stories up. A dawning horror creeps over me like a ghost and I quickly type into Google search - 'do bats make a sound'? Turns out that, yes they do make sounds that people can hear. Either when communicating with their young, or fighting. This sounds more like a fight than momma comforting the tykes. I feel like I might have heart failure. I mean, I know there are bats around here at night. I was told that there are. I also saw the evidence of it on the deck one morning when I accidentally left the indoor kitty out on it for the night (it is also three stories up and fully railed so she didn't go anywhere). I found a small pile of poop on one deck chair, and a tiny set of ears attached to a bloody stump on the other. I thought at first it might be a mouse but something about it made me think 'bat'. Turns out that if kitty is left out on the deck for the night, she kills bats. It's happened before.

So sitting in the living room with the hair on the back of my neck standing on end, I now have to get up the courage to go to the doors that lead to said deck, open the screen (it's on the inside for some reason) and then close the glass sliders without letting a bat inside. I am not cut out for this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Well, I have been up here house-sitting for two weeks, come tomorrow, and I am going out of my mind. I can't remember when I have been so bored.

The house is way out of town, up on a mountain side with a view of the lake far below and Kelowna in the distance beyond. Its quiet up here. Deafeningly quiet. My friend, Donna, is in Germany so I don't have anyone to visit or talk to. And after being in the busy household she runs, this feels like a tomb. There is a son around here somewhere, and I do hear him singing as he creates a new CD in his dad's music studio downstairs, but I rarely see him. He appears in the kitchen a couple of times a day for about 5 minutes a session to grab something to eat, and then disappears back down into the bowels of the house where, once again, I hear him singing. He has an interesting voice.

I spend a lot of time on FaceBook and surfing the net. I also work on the script I am rewriting for the woman who's house this is. I try to do ten pages a day but sometimes get stuck at about five.

I can't believe I am doing this, but I've actually started looking at Crew Wanted websites again. I made my profile visible on one, after disabling it after the Florida debacle, and soon am contacted by about five or six guys looking for crew. What am I doing??

I also reactivate my profile on a dating site, change my location to Kelowna, and get three or four hits right away. One guy I recognize as someone I was in contact with about four years ago. We email back and forth a couple of times and set up a meeting at Kelly O'Brians in half an hour. I can do this as I am already dressed up and have makeup on because I was going to go to a singles dinner that is held every Sunday at Trinity Baptist, but chickened out at the last minute. Turns out they don't start until September, something they fail to mention on their website, and so I am glad I didn't waste precious gas driving all that way.

I arrive at Kellys before Michael does and wait in the car until I see him walking up to the pub. He said he'd meet me outside so I get out of my car and walk up to him. I wave as I cross the parking lot and he waves back, with a big smile on his face. That's always a good sign. One time I was meeting a guy at Starbucks and I walked past him to the bar to order my drink, I had seen him sitting there as I came through the door and recognized him from his pictures online. When I got my drink and turned around to walk to his table, he had gone - and left his large coffee behind. I guess he didn't like what he saw, but that was a dispicable way to handle it, in my opinion. Anyway, this guy is happy to see me and gives me a hug before we head inside to take a seat on the patio.

We spend two hours getting acquainted and the time flies by. He's a really great guy with a British accent and a good sense of humour. When we part, it's with a promise to stay in touch and see one another again. Then he remembers that he said I could watch a copy of a movie he was telling me about so we arrange to meet up tomorrow so I can get it.

Driving home, I realize how much I have missed socializing and getting out to meet new people. I really have to force myself to do it, but once I do I always enjoy it. I really need to create more opportunities to get out.

Donna arrives home from Germany tonight so I will go into Kelowna tomorrow to see her and then meet Michael right after as he lives in the same area as her.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Tomorrow I move myself and the few belongings I have with me to the side of a mountain on the west side of Kelowna. A friend is going to be in Germany for a month with most of her family and I am house-sitting. Two cats, 3 levels, new tenants moving in to the basement suite, one son still at home but not home much, a collection of irreplaceable files and photo albums together in boxes in the garage ready to be tossed into the car at a moments notice if there's another fire induced evacuation, and a fabulous view of the lake in the distance. I think I can handle all that. I will, however, miss the pool. Looking down from one of the three balconies that span the back of the house, I have a view of the neighbour's pool, which I am sure will be very tempting in the weeks to come as the house has no air conditioning either, and I have been spoiled.

I will have use of a car. Which is a nice idea but I have no money for gas. I also have no money for food and so should lose some weight, which is never a bad thing. My phone bill is due tomorrow and it's for two months of service, as a voice on the other end of the phone explained when I freaked out at the amount, because they bill for the month ahead and so when I came back from Florida and had to get a new plan, I hadn't paid for July yet. Or something like that. It made sense at the time. But I don't have the money to pay it and if I lose my phone line, I never will because it's the only way a potential employer can get hold of me.

Speaking of which, the project for a new game at Disney has been scrapped so the position I interviewed for has been scrapped along with it. I got a call on Friday that sounded like they had another position for me that was mine for the taking, and it was arranged for me to come in and 'meet' the head of the department first thing Monday morning. I was encouraged by the use of the word 'meet' and not 'interview' and that solidified my belief that the job was mine if I wanted it. When ushered into the room for the 'meeting' it turned out to be a full blown interview with two of the most unreadable people I have ever met in my life. One of them could have been a cardboard cut-out person for all of the emotion he showed. His face barely changed expression the entire hour... although I did manage to elicit a ghost of a smile from him twice.

Anyway, I left feeling very discouraged as the whole thing just didn't feel like it went very well and I wasn't sure it was right for me. If it was the days before computers, it would be a total paper-pushing role. I remember one of the questions I was asked in the first interview was what about work gave me fulfillment and my reply was something along the lines of 'utilizing my creativity working with a team to accomplish a goal'. There would be no creativity employed in this role. However, I determined to take it if offered, and work hard until a better opportunity within the company presented itself. I was told at the end of the interview that they would let me know within twenty-four hours. So I went back home to wait.

Tuesday morning came and went without a call, and so did the rest of the day. At four I called the head of HR and left a message on her voice-mail. Wednesday morning at about ten, I emailed her. She called me two hours later to tell me the news.

The two who interviewed me think I would have no problem with this position. However. They are looking for someone who would want to move up to a Project Manager role in the future. Would I be interested in that? I replied that I would need to see a job description before I could answer that question. She told me to research it on-line and I asked if they didn't have a job description for the role particular to their company. She said that she didn't know and would get back to me on that. So I agreed to do some research and email her with my response.

A couple of hours later I sent her an email saying I would be very interested in progressing to that level and, should it expedite the process, would be willing to take a course or some training once I had the coordinator position. I still haven't received a job description from her and I haven't heard back as to what the decision is based on my email. So here I am in limbo.

In desperate need for some cash, I wrote to the insurance adjuster for the mall where I slipped and fell on some spilled water. Apparently they are still trying to determine who takes the blame so that they can then have the insurer of that department pay me. I can see this taking a long time.

I am having some resumes printed for me this afternoon by my friend and so will head out and find some temp agencies and anyone else who is looking for applicants. I hate job hunting with a passion.

Last night a new friend on FaceBook messaged me. He works at Disney and he used to be a Vancouver sound mixer for the film industry. My daughter introduced me to him when I was at the office for my first interview. He bought an apartment up here but now is moving in with his girlfriend so is putting his place up for rent. It's mine if I want it. It's two bedrooms and a good price. It overlooks a park and is a 5 minute walk from the Disney / Club Penguin offices. He wants to rent it out September 1 but will wait until October 1 for me. It would be so great to be in a position to take it come October. If I get this job at Disney, I just might get some semblance of my life back before winter sets in.

Monday, August 3, 2009


The sun is trying to shine through the thick haze of smoke from the Terrace Mountain fire. When I look out of the kitchen window for the first time this morning, I see a lot of black stuff floating in the pool. I am puzzled by it then it dawns on me that it is from the fire. I go outside and take a look and, sure enough, everything is covered in a coating of grey ash and black bits of charred bark and pine needles. I touch a pine needle clump just to make sure and it disintegrates into ash. I go back inside and eat breakfast and then back outside to clean it up.

I scoop as much of the black bits out of the pool as I can and then go turn on the filter to get the rest. The pool is still very cloudy despite being shocked earlier in the week. I decide to vacuum the drifts of sediment that has settled onto the bottom. I wrangle the hose off of the fence and manage to figure out how to hook it up to the filter and get started in the shallow end. I go really slow as not to disturb the sediment and it's taking a long time. After about an hour and a half I only have 1/6th of the pool done and I am hot. I go back into the house and change into a swimsuit and feel a lot better. After about another hour I am so hot it feels like I am about to spontaneously combust so put down the vacuum and get into the pool to cool off. While I am standing there I get a light bulb moment. Why can't I vacuum the pool while I am in it? So I grab the hose and shorten the pole and start to vacuum. What a great idea. Now I am cool and not having to reach so far with the long, awkward pole. I am about 20 minutes into it when a young couple stop by. This is the guy who is supposed to be cleaning the pool in exchange for time teaching scuba lessons in it. Granted, he just got married and is fresh off of his honeymoon, but in the month I have been here he hasn't done a thing to the pool.

'Hey." he says. "Are you house-sitting while everyone is gone?" Donna and Malcolm have gone to the coast to visit his sister and family and taken Moriah with them. "No." I say, "Bethany is still here, and I am just visiting." "How come no one's been answering the phone all morning?" he asks. "Well I have been out here cleaning the pool, " I say with a slight emphasis on the 'cleaning the pool' bit, "and I have no idea why Bethany isn't answering the phone." "So you're cleaning the pool then?" he asks. Didn't I just say that, and isn't it sort of obvious, me standing in it holding the vacuum and all? "Uh... yep. Someone has to do it. It's filthy. And this morning when I got up, it was full of floating ash from the fire." He asks if I have much suction in the vacuum and I tell him it was fine up until about 10 minutes ago and now I don't seem to have much at all. He goes over to one of the jets to make sure water is still flowing though the system, and it is. Meanwhile I ask his new bride how their trip to Mexico for the honeymoon went. "I want to bring my dad and two brothers over today for a scuba lesson." he calls out from across the pool. "Is that okay with you?" he asks. I had asked Donna before she left if there were any visitors to the pool planned while she was gone and she told me that all their friends know not to come on the weekend. There are a lot of moms and kids come and use the pool during the week, so I was happy about that as I planned to spend quite a bit of time in here over the long weekend. I want to swim a lot of laps to get myself back into shape as well as just relax in the water in this heat. So this is a surprise to me, being it is Sunday. Also, I don't want anyone in the water, disturbing the sediment. "Well, not until I get this pool cleaned. I want to vacuum the rest of it, and this has taken me two hours so far so it's going to take me the rest of the day to get it all done. If you guys come in then you will disturb all the sediment." He is quiet for a bit. I start to check why the vacuum seems to have stopped sucking altogether. There is no suction from the hose. I tell him and he goes back to check the intake and then the valve. "Could the basket in the intake be clogged?" I ask. "That should have come out before you put the vacuum in." he tells me. "Oh I didn't know that. It's in there. Could that be the problem then?" "Not unless you've been sucking up a lot of big leaves." "No, haven't done that." "Well, if we get in here and stir it all up with a scuba lesson, the filter should take care of it." "No I don't think so." I say. "The filter was on earlier and still all this settled to the bottom. And I really want to get it cleaned up. I don't want the water full of it again."

I click the vacuum head back onto the pole and hose but there still isn't any suction. I am frustrated as I really want this pool clean. "So then, I'll be back in a bit with my dad and brothers then." he says, "See ya later." And they leave me standing there with my mouth open. Frustrated, I get out of the pool, detach the hose from the filter, and coil it back onto the hooks on the fence. I would like to have tried to get most of it up before they come back but there's no point in wasting time vacuuming with a hose that isn't working. Maybe the filters will take care of the sediment if I leave it on all night instead of turning it off for most of the time like Malcolm does. But I have a suspicion that what will happen is I will get up tomorrow and everything I just cleaned will look as it did before I started.

Sure enough, it is now the next day and I get up this morning and look out through the kitchen window at the pool through the weird orange haze that the freshly risen sun is casting through the heavy smoke. There's no ash floating so their wasn't any wind last night. But the shallow end of the pool is dotted with clumps of sediment again.

All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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