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, February 14, 2010


When I get home, I am so stiff from standing on concrete all day and now sitting in my car for an hour, that I can barely walk up the path to the house. My back is hurting and so is my right knee and hip. Even my ankle on the right keeps getting a stabbing pang. I might look only 43, as Guy claims, but I feel about 73 at the moment. Getting old sucks.

When I get inside, there are three women and Denise sitting at the table, scrapbooking. They ask about my day and I tell them about the George Clooney look-alike. They want to see the photo so I get my camera and show them. Their jaws drop. "George Clooney with a French accent," one sighs, "it doesn't get any better than that." I have to agree.

After a hot shower and a meal, I am exhausted so turn in by 7. I wake through the night a couple of times with a bad stomach ache and think to myself that it feels like flu and I might have to call in sick. But each time, I get up to use the bathroom and as soon as I am vertical, the pain is gone. Did I just dream it? One of the times I go back to sleep I do dream that I faint at work from the pain. When the alarm goes off, I roll over and turn it off and feel the pain again and I feel dreadful. But when I get up, I feel not so bad. I have no idea what's going on.

On my way into work I think about all of the changes in instructions I am getting all of the time. Yesterday, we had three WOP buses that were to be diverted to another location. When they pulled out, Jessica went into panic about something and needed to call one of the drivers. She asked me for his phone number. I told her that I don't have it. Her eyes widen and she yells, "Why not?!" "Because you told us just to get the bus number." "Oh no! You shouldn't listen to me." she says, realizing what she is saying so her voice trails off at the end. As I think about this and other scenarios that have taken place, I decide it's time to go into movie set mode. I am done with going along with whatever changes come down, seemingly on a whim. I am done with dithering about. I am done with feeling like I am making mistakes constantly. I am going to start to assert myself and call someone out when told conflicting things.

It's pissing rain again, really coming down hard. So I put a cheap plastic poncho over my reflective vest and other gear. It doesn't breathe so right away I start to heat up. I want to get outside but Jessica says we need to have a meeting before we go. I tell her I need to get outside and place some cones I requested from parking yesterday to mark a path for the buses to follow up at the top of the road into the loading bays because I don't have the crew to place someone there today. "Fine, take your crew and go do that and then get back here right away." I do and within fifteen minutes we are back in the office. She isn't there. I try to radio her but am told she has gone to WOP and isn't wearing a radio yet. Fabulous. So we go back outside and get ready for the first workforce bus to pull in. But before I do, I spy a pair of those reflective gloves. They have the 2010 logo on them. They're so nice. I pick them up and say, "We were supposed to get some of these." A parking guy tells me that there's boxes of them in the office. We're not supposed to go in there but I am done with the nonsense, as I said, so I knock on the door and when there's no reply I walk in and find the boxes. They are all marked XL. I grab three pair out of the top box and hand one pair to each of my crew and put the other pair on my hands. Done.

No sooner does Guy arrive with our 4:50 departure bus than we start getting waves of WOP buses again. I am down at the bottom of the road directing them all. At some point Jessica radios me for something. I respond and then say, "...and I came back in to have that meeting but you weren't there." "I know I wasn't there," she says with sarcasm, "I had to go to WOP about blah blah blah..." she goes on and on and I wait for her to finish. "I know you know you weren't there," I respond finally, "I just wanted you to know that I didn't forget, and that I came back for the meeting." She doesn't respond.

Later, during a lull with our workforce buses, Jessica calls us all back in for that meeting. When we get there, someone closes the door behind us. I go and open it and say "Let's leave this open during the meeting, shall we? We're all dressed for the cold and we will quickly overheat in here." Jessica shoots me a dirty look and I just hold the look with a blank gaze. Shall we continue? She starts by telling us how she was sent twenty workers yesterday afternoon from another agency and she was supposed to train them and had no idea what they were doing there so she sent them home. I don't know why we need this information but I am about to respond 'Really? When we are short staffed and I am trying to work with just two crew today - you actually sent people home without scheduling them in?' but right then a bus arrives. Jessica sees it. "OH SH**, a bus!" she cries, and then jumps up and runs outside. So we all stand inside and wait, fully geared up for the elements, as she runs out alone and dressed in just a tee-shirt and polar fleece vest to do our job. I look at Olga and we shake our heads. This is starting to border on the insane. After what feels like ten minutes but is probably just five, I tell everyone to go outside and lets do our jobs. We're all too hot to be waiting indoors any more.

I am kept hopping all day at the bottom of the road, directing buses and keeping in touch with my guy up top. Olga came in on her day off to help me or I'd just have one crew today. I give her the clipboard and get her to take all the driver information and the WOP bus numbers. Once the spectators start to arrive, Jessica puts her back in charge of supervising the loading crew as the woman who was supposed to show up for that today didn't arrive. Olga puts one of her crew on to taking driver info but no one tells me the switch has taken place. Jessica tries calling Olga's alternate but there's no answer at 5 a.m., predictably. She gets hold of her later in the day and asks why she didn't show up. I hear her say, "But you had your four days off. You are four on and four off. You were supposed to be here today." Later I realize that Olga and I started out with the same schedule. Four on four off, so we were always working together. But today she was supposed to be off on the new schedule. She booked in for an extra day of work because we needed more workers. How is it that she was off today? Turns out when Jessica made up the new schedule, she screwed up and gave Olga only three days this shift. So that woman was right in not coming in today as she had only had three days off, not four. She originally wasn't scheduled to come in - Olga was. When I try to explain this to Jessica, it takes me several attempts to get her to understand. When she finally gets it, she admits she made a major mistake. Olga and I want to work together. We work well as a team. So Jessica says she will fix the schedule to put us on the same four days again. This is a typical example of what goes on in every area every single day. Jessica always blames the higher ups for changing things but I have my doubts. She seems to make a lot of it up on the fly. You know, she seems like a really nice person and in other circumstances I am sure I'd like her, but she is just not up to the task of manager. In fact, I hear later that she was lamenting to someone that she has never managed anything in her life before. What... WHAT exactly was the criteria for people getting the jobs they got around here? Because I am seeing nothing but people doing nothing they are qualified to do every time I turn around.

Take another incident today, for example. Our last bus to Whistler Sliding Center has departed over an hour ago and we have six Americans show up with tickets to the luge today but no bus tickets. When we were in training (and I use that term loosely) for our roles here, we were told in no uncertain terms that if spectators showed up too late for the bus, it was too bad. There was nothing we could do to help them. Even if we put them on a workforce bus, which we were NEVER to do, they wouldn't make it in time for the event anyway, by the time they drove up, went through the security line up, and then walked the 20 minutes from there to the venue. These guys protest vehemently that there was no information when they purchased their tickets online that they needed to buy a bus ticket. I have no idea how almost one thousand five hundred other people managed to figure it out then. Granted, we have about 20 per event that have to go to the ticket kiosk down at the trailer and buy their bus tickets because they also failed to read that a ticket was required so didn't purchase it ahead of time on line. But the vast majority manage to see that just fine. Jessica is called outside to give them the bad news. But instead, she tells them she will see what she can do. She goes back inside to get an information booklet that each ticket buyer gets. These guys say they never got one. Meanwhile, two other Chinese guys join the group. Turns out not only do they not have a bus ticket, they don't even have an event ticket and they want to hop one of our buses to Whistler. This is a definite breach of security and in no way is allowed. But as Jessica comes out and decides to let the Americans ride up with work crew, and without buying a ticket, she also decides she has to let the other two guys ride up as well as they heard her allow the Americans. Today after work, we do have a meeting to work out any wrinkles and this issue comes up. I say that none of those people should have been allowed on the bus, if we were to go by our training. And they should have had to buy tickets to get on the workforce bus because that is not fair to all those who had to pay $50 a head to ride up. I say, "What if they tell their friends, just show up late and you can catch a ride with the worker bus and you won't have to pay?" She shrugs that off as something that will never happen. I tell her that I can see letting the Americans go up with workforce, but they should have paid and there is no way the Chinese guys should have been allowed on the bus as they can't get into the luge. She says there is a place in Whistler where tickets can be purchased. I tell her that can't be the case as all tickets were sold months ago and the only way to get any now is on the fan-to-fan website. She disagrees with me. I am appalled at her lack of knowledge and her flaunting of rules that are in place for security. If Richard found out about this, I think she would be fired on the spot. He fired the head of parking yesterday just for not being strict enough with his crew. He'd blow his stack over this.

At some point in the day, Jessica starts to rag on me about some information I didn't get that I should have gotten. (I can't recall what.) This is news to me. She does it in front of three bus drivers so I pull her to one side. "I am not stupid." I start. "I know you're not." she interrupts. "I am not stupid." I say again, "If you want something, ask for it and I will do it. If you don't ask, do not come at me because I don't have it." I am angry and she knows it. "I was not coming at you." she says. "I am sick of things changing from moment to moment and having no consistency in what is required. When you decide what it is you want, you let me know, and I will do it. Alright?" She starts yammering on about how everything is changing for her as well and she can't do anything about it. "Well until whoever decides how it's going to go, I will keep on doing what I am doing and you can let me know." I say and then walk away.

And speaking of changes and of Richard; at one point I am part way up the road, signaling to a bus just arriving to come up and park. But he continues to drive straight ahead instead of coming towards me. Then I see someone kick cones out of his way so he can drive into the gravel lot. What the.....?? I run down the road and see Richard waving the bus into the lot. Once the bus, and the five behind him, are parked in the lot, I ask what's going on. Because now I have two of my buses trapped behind WOP buses. I am less than thrilled, to put it mildly. But this is the big kahuna so I have to be diplomatic. He says that there's no point in clogging up the road with all of the drivers, it's almost full. And they can't be circling around the block. Really? I had just sent four of them to circle. I ask why, then, were we told that they could and would, when we were in training. He says it's changed and they won't be circling. Man. I am so sick of the constant changes. He goes on about how he once, back in the States, had 20 buses lined up like this and how he just pointed and gestured when they needed to move and it was fine. Huh? What has that to do with this situation? I am done to the death with being micro managed. If you want to do my job, have at it and I will go sit in the trailer out of the rain where it's warm and I can give my back and legs a break. But if I am supposed to be doing this, then let me do it. And if you wanted things to work your way, then where the H, E, double hockey sticks were you on my first day here to train me properly instead of my being handed a clipboard and radio and told to get out there and do it? I have spent hours both on and off the job trying to figure out how to make this all work. I finally have a system that seems to be doing alright and then it gets kicked aside. Just like that. I am so done.

I never get to speak to a bus driver all day, other than Guy in the morning when I give him my phone number and days off so I can play tour guide for him AND the other bus driver who showed up right after him. Safety in numbers. Then he won't get the idea that I am caving on my 'no married men' rule. Oh, I did manage to talk to 'George Clooney' as he was parked in the lower line-up. I told him that I showed his photo to my friends and all of their jaws dropped. He laughed. I told him about the comment - George Clooney with an accent and he throws his head back and laughs... he loves it.

I only manage to grab one 15 minute break all day. By the time the last bus leaves, I am in agony. My back is killing me, and not in the usual place. It's right across my upper back and extends into my rib cage. This is a pain I only get when hunched over my binder all day at work (in film), thus I now use a music stand to hold it higher. When I head inside to take off my gear, I get the overwhelming urge to vomit. I run around to the back of the trailer to do it away from where anyone walks, and then fight it back. I will do anything not to vomit and I manage to fight back the bile and not throw up.

When I get home, I try to eat a little dinner but feel nauseated again and can't eat. I call Shawn to fill him in on some changes we have made to how we stage the buses to avoid the shmoz we had yesterday. From now on WOP buses go to the left only, and we will park them in two rows at the top. Our buses, to WSC, will go to the right and into the bays, snaking down the right side of the road. The workforce buses will go straight into the gravel parking lot. He says I sound tired. I tell him I think I am coming down with the flu. He gives me the recipe for a concoction he learned about while teaching in China. You take a can of coke, and bring it to the boil on the stove with a golf ball sized piece of ginger finely ground into it. Then you pour it into a mug and add the juice of a lemon and a tablespoon of honey. Drink it down half an hour before going to bed.

I find all of the ingredients in the house and cook it up. At first it doesn't taste too bad, it just has a bit of a bite. But as I get farther and farther down the mug, it starts to taste awful. I guess the ginger is getting stronger. I am worried I will just bring it all back up, and I almost do but fight it down. I fall into bed, completely exhausted and feeling like I've been hit by a bus; no pun intended. I sleep like a log and wake up feeling much better. I think it must have been food poisoning from the horrible half of an egg sandwich I ate at work yesterday. We are provided with a sandwich a day made by the same caterers that make food for Air Canada. It is the most dreadful food I have ever had and have stopped eating it. Except for yesterday. I was so hungry and the egg salad didn't look so bad, even though there was no butter - as usual - on the bread and no mayo. It was a bit dry, and when I kept coming across chewy bits the consistency of cooked chicken breast, I threw out what was left. I should never have touched it.

(I found the picture of the tee-shirt after I came up with the title of this post and was searching the internet for a photo to use as I had no time to take pictures today!)
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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