Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I am discontent.

I don't like my job. That's what I wish was different about my life. It's amazing how one thing, only one thing, can have such an effect on me. Then again, maybe it's not. I do spend 10 hours a day either preparing for work, at work, or on my way home from work - and then I structure the rest of my life (e.g., when I must go to bed so that I can be alert for when I must wake up) around work. So not liking my job is not a good thing.

I liked it most of the summer. It's just been in the last week that I've lost my interest in it.

It isn't even the job I don't like anymore. I don't mind taking people around on tours and doing odd chores around the place. It's that I feel like my bosses (there are two women in charge and I'm not sure which of them is ultimate boss - problem number one) have unrealistic expectations of what I can get done in a day.

They leave me a list of chores to do - which is fine. I can do chore lists. But I work half of my days on my own. I have to take every person on a tour if they want it - which means I could take six tours a day, of two people each. That means I can't get all the chores done. Then I get asked why I couldn't get all the chores done because "we only had 12 people" that day.

S. is running into the same problem. Yesterday, he decided to try to get chores done so he told people they could guide themselves (a viable option, not him being rude), and he got a lecture on how 'we must take everyone on a tour, they must get what they paid for' and not only that, we have to be 'up' the whole time.

So now I have to be cheerful while I do the impossible.

I can't wait for this job to be over. Only 14 work days left...

Whenever I have a job or process that I just want to get through, I tell myself that I can do anything for 14 days/one month/six weeks. It usually helps, but this time I'm not sure it's true. If nothing else I know now that I'd better not spend my whole life working at jobs that don't feed my soul unless I want to be an embittered old lady one day, sucking the joy and life out of those around me like a horrible vampire.

I can't spend my life feeling like this.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The van pulls up, nondescript except for a lack of windows – a Hudderite van, we call them around here, because the Hudderites use them so much. A bunch of people pile out, not Hudderites, and before I know it the day that promised to be slow has a group of 23 people. They have a lot of children – two families of 7 each to start – and they aren’t European. That leaves only one option.

“Are you home schoolers?” I ask.

The leader, a short man with glasses and an earnest expression, answers in the affirmative.

“I was home schooled,” I say. Just friendly small talk with the tourists. I do it all the time.

All the adults make pleased murmuring noises and then the leader launches into what they’ve done so far on their trip. I’m not surprised. Home schoolers, I’ve noticed, are the champions of unloading too much information on strangers. I listen politely. They’ve gone to the Hoodoos, as well as a visit to a Creationism museum…uh oh. These people are those kind of home schoolers.

“Are you a Christian?” the leader asks abruptly.

“Yes,” I answer. I know where this is heading and I’m regretting ever letting him know I was home schooled but it’s too late now.

“What do you think of the Tyrell and all of that here?”

The silence in my ears is eternal while I consider the options. You see, I personally have no problem believing the world was both created by God and is billions of years old. I think the Tyrell is an interesting museum and I actually don’t care enough about this aspect of science to involve my theology in it. Unlike the vibes I’m getting from Earnest in front of me. I don’t want to argue. I don’t care enough.

“Well, I’m an artist so I kind of approach it from that perspective and the displays are very beautiful,” I finally answer. I feel guilty and lame for copping out but it was the right tack; Earnest doesn’t really care what I say as long as it doesn’t contradict his notion of what and who I am. He goes off about the errors of carbon dating and the living dinosaurs in the rain forest today. I’ve read just enough about his viewpoint to smile and nod and throw in the occasional intelligent yet ambiguous statement.

The chameleon hiding her true colours yet again.

After the tour one of the older men in the group questioned me about my home town and the theatre there (I’d let slip where I was from). I got the distinct sense he was judging me and my life path. I guess the answers I gave were acceptable (or really wrong) because after all that he invited me to their church in Lacombe “if you’re ever up that way”.

I’m not going to lie. I feel like I’m struggling with faith right now, with knowing if what I believe is true, is good enough, is even worth believing. On top of that I want God to be a father in the sky giving me what I want and it’s not happening, so I’m frustrated. All that to say I read his pamphlet before tucking off to the side. I can see it as I write – “Your Personal Invitation: Preaching the Old Book, the New Birth, the Precious Blood, and the Blessed Hope”. Truthfully, when I read “Precious Blood” I snorted and got jolted out of the maudlin and back into my normal, more mocking headspace. It was worth reading it just for that.

This whole experience did make me think about the big things: my life, religion, the world, my family. My mom chose to home school me and my brothers for a few reasons – the system wasn’t meeting my needs, and she didn’t like the effect the peer influence was having on me. At some point, I don’t think it was from the beginning, she became “one of those home schoolers” which is why I knew enough about Earnest’s beliefs to meld into his world view without shaking it apart, and why I really wanted to shake it apart in the first place. I feel I can mock it. I’ve been there even if I didn’t stay there for long.

And yet I didn’t challenge his worldview. Why? Am I like my cousin, who apparently takes on the colours, beliefs, and attitudes of whatever group of friends she’s hanging out with? Am I weak and cowardly? Or did I just do the professional thing?

I don’t know the answer. I know I want it to be the last option. I know I’m not certain it is.

I guess a chameleon doesn’t get to choose the colours it wears.

And I think I’m getting tired of being a chameleon.

Monday, September 08, 2008


There’s frost on the ground outside. A thin layer of it covers my car from hood to trunk.

Apparently that means my car wants to stay put, where it is, in cold hibernation.

I have the best auto luck in the world.


That won’t make sense to some of you, since you aren’t all in on the harrowing tale that was my return trip from my brother’s wedding. Let me fill you in.

Several months ago, I decided that due to the rising cost of gasoline I needed a smaller car. So I talked it over with my dad and he found one for me. A 95 Grand Am that needed a bit of work but nothing he couldn’t manage. I was very pleased, and we planned that I would bring the Crown Vic up for the wedding, leave it behind and take the Grand Am home again.

All went well. I got a deal on the car. The wedding was beautiful. I saw family I haven’t seen for a while. On Monday, S. and I headed back home in the new, smaller car.

The engine light kept coming on but Dad said, “It’s a Pontiac. That happens.”

Finally, just about an hour south of Edmonton, the light came on and the temperature gauge started to rise. So I pulled over and turned off the car, thinking it must be the oil (see how much I knew about cars? Not much. How things have changed.). I heard a hissing noise that S. thought might be the can of pop we’d just opened – but when I opened my car door and looked underneath, I saw all of my antifreeze spraying out the bottom of my engine.

After a hefty tow bill, I got to meet some of Scott’s family (this happened in the evening so we had to stay in Edmonton overnight. Our boss was so pleased.). The next morning, Canadian Tire told me that my heater core had gone and needed to be replaced. It could be done by the afternoon. We’d only miss one day of work. It would cost me $700.00. So I bit my lip and told them to fix the car.

That was at 8:30 Tuesday morning. At 4:00, S. and I were about to blow our brains out from sheer boredom in the Canadian Tire waiting room when we were told my car was ready! They were just bleeding the air out of the cooling system and taking it for a short run to make sure it was okay! Yeay!

We cheered when we saw the car drive around the front, a cheer that quickly turned into a stunned silence when it drove straight back into the shop. “That can’t be good,” S. said. And it wasn’t. They were having a hard time getting the air out – the car was vapour locked – no, the thermostat was defective and needed to be replaced – the car wouldn’t be ready today. So at 8:30pm Scott’s uncle came and got us and we spent another night away from home. Another day’s missed work.

The next morning at 11:00, Canadian Tire phoned me and told me several things. Firstly, the car was still not fixed. Secondly, they had driven it twice until it stalled from overheating and then couldn’t be restarted, so “it couldn’t be driven.”. Thirdly, they thought the heads were blown.

One of my dad’s friends brought the Crown Vic to me and towed the Grand Am back to my dad. Finally, Wednesday evening, we were on our way back home.

My dad took a look at the Grand Am. The whole problem? A hose that is supposed to be used to bleed air from the system was clogged. The engine was vapour locked. And since they overheated it twice, the heads are gone – now. They were fine when I brought them the car, but thanks to their inept 'mechanics' I now have a very pretty lawn ornament.

A very expensive lawn ornament, at that. I spent $2000.00 on a car that I drove for 6 hours, and I am back where I started with the Land Yacht – or Old Faithful as I have re-dubbed her.

Although she won’t start today, when it’s only maybe -2 C, so maybe I’ll have to rename her again.

Any suggestions?