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...

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Just when I wrote on the forum for my on-line screenwriting course that I am back, I get a call asking me to work at the Paralympic games. Doing the same thing but now downtown Vancouver at Station Street, Main and Terminal. Of course I say yes.

She tells me my schedule, four days on, one day off starting Saturday March 6 right through to the end of the games, March 21st. Wow. That is going to be brutal. Good thing it's just for three weeks. And it's only an 8 hour day this time because there is no spectator buses, people are now allowed to drive their own vehicles to Whistler. There were very stringent security measures in place for the Olympic games, one of which was, no vehicle without a security pass could drive past Squamish. Even if one held an event ticket. Thus the spectator buses we filled most every day. But now we are down to transporting only workforce so each day will be super easy with just ten or so buses arriving over an eight hour period. And now we have acres to park them in, wouldn't you know it. This place used to be depot for the buses. There are huge tents all over, one for washing the buses down in, one for changing the oil, one is a massive dining hall, and there are four trailers for offices. The trailer we are using is full of computer terminals. Most all of this will be gone by the end of the weekend. They will leave just one trailer for us to use.

I am told that I can go pick up my new accreditation and modifications to my jacket on Friday, but I don't want to drive all the way into Vancouver just for that so ask if it's okay if I wear my jacket as is on Saturday and then pick it all up on my way home. She say's that's fine.

So I am in bed by 6:30 again with the alarm set for 2 a.m. this time to account for the extra distance I have to drive. I wake up feeling well rested and make it there without any problem. It's really dark out and I can't exactly make out everything that the manager is pointing out to me as to where buses go for staging and then for loading. I am really happy that Dan and Shawn are part of my team again. When she called to ask if I would work, I asked if they were on the list and she said Dan was but she didn't have Shawn's name. I told her that he was great and would be an asset to the team. She called me the next day to ask for his phone number as a worker had quit due to getting another job. Dan is actually load zone crew, but he used to help with getting the buses up the road. Now he will work in the load zone and I have Shawn and a new (to me) guy called Ronnie. I give each of them a post to direct buses and I take the clipboard to gather info.

It's freezing out and I, once again, am so glad for my mountain pants. Everyone else is wearing what they call 'city pants' and they are thin with no insulation value whatsoever. I don't know how they can stand it.

It seems that we have a contingency of RCMP on the lot next to ours. Turns out, that is where they were checking vehicles over with bomb-sniffing dogs before giving out passes to Whistler. I see a few RCMP walking back and forth and some take photos of their lot. I wonder if it's for security reasons or personal photo albums.

Everything goes pretty much like clockwork. I am hoping to see some of the Pacific drivers we all got to know so well at the BCIT hub, but none of them are assigned to Station hub, it seems. It's a new bus company showing up here and almost all of the drivers are Asian. It won't be the same. I can't joke around with them like I did the other guys... too much gets lost in translation and also they all are very serious. Almost sour. Although Shawn spends a lot of time hanging out with them and laughing. But then, he spent 3 years in Beijing and so can speak their language and has some things in common.

When we are done for the day, I decide to call my daughter as I will be just over the bridge from them when I go to get my accreditation and jacket bits. Turns out they've just had breakfast out and are now at a music store. She tells me they are near Main and Terminal. I tell her I am at Main and Terminal. We laugh at the coincidence and arrange to meet at Tim Hortons just around the corner for a drink together.

They both look fabulous and we exchange big hugs. Then Rob digs into his backpack and starts pulling out multiple Olympic pins for me. It's a big deal, this pin collecting and trading thing. I wasn't at all interested in it. I mean, I have just spent the last year of my life paring down my possessions to almost nothing and so am not about to start building them back up again. But I did get two pins right off the bat; one with my uniform and one from the theater when I went to see Avatar; it came with the popcorn and drink. Then I was given a couple from Impark at work, and a fellow I work with brought some Surrey Olympic pins. I traded two of the Impark ones for two different ones when I was downtown one day. Then I got given a few more and, before I knew it, I started to look like a serious collector once I had them all on my lanyard. Now that I have these four from Rob, my lanyard is full. There isn't room for a single other pin unless they go around the back of my neck.

When I arrive to get my new accreditation, I ask for a new picture to be taken. This time I am going to make sure I get one from a higher angle. Well. I get the most miserable volunteer imaginable. With a British accent, if that means anything. He won't put the camera higher so I crouch a bit. He tells me to stand up straight. I tell him no, I want the camera at a higher angle. He won't take it until I stand straight. AND they won't let you smile - like it's a passport photo or something. So now, couple a straight-on photo and no smile with the fact that I was up at 2 a.m. and wore a touque for 8 hours... this photo looks even worse than the last one. Miserable So and So. He could have just humoured me. It wouldn't have killed him. But now I see the result, I'd like to. (not really)

Not only do I get a new ID card, I also get a patch that will replace the Olympic one on my jacket's right chest with the Paralympic one, a large piece of fabric that snaps over the Olympic rings on the back of the jacket with the Paralympic 'swoops' on instead, and CITY PANTS! Now I have everything they handed out except for the backpack. I am really excited about the city pants because I will put them on under my mountain pants and then can remove the mountain ones when it gets too hot out. It got quite warm out today once the sun was up.

My new ID card has a ton of symbols on it. When I look them up I am amazed. I have the infinity symbol which usually means one can go anywhere; this one means I have access to all game venues. Does this mean I can go inside and be a spectator for free??? I must find out. The other symbols mean I also have access to the International Broadcast Center (IBC), Whistler Media Center (WMC), Paralympic Family Home (PFH), BC Place (STA), Whistler Medals Plaza (WCP) and General Circulation Areas. I must find out what this means. Although, with only one day off every 5, I am not going to have a plethora of spare hours to go stick my nose places I couldn't at the Olympics. Too bad! But at least I can walk around and feel like one of the important people this time, what with that infinity symbol and all. Unless everyone gets one, that is. I will have to check it out tomorrow.
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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