The Graduate

There is pride, and then there is PRIDE! First Born Son graduated last night. Aside from Kindergarten to Gr 3, I’d like to think that Grade 8 was his best to date. And while I’d like to take credit –

…this lady deserves the pat on the back. She rocked FBS’s world.

 Which in turn, rocks ours! There are some awesome teachers our there. THANK YOURS!

 ~ One Very Proud Mom!

The Truck

Since much of my time lately consists of watching Soap Operas and eating Bon Bons, my father thought it would be good for me to go on a road trip. He had to take his truck to “the city” to get some work done on it, so I might as well come along for the ride.

YES - it's a Chev - ignore the GMC hubcaps - no one is going on eBay to pay $150 a pop for Chev caps.

I needed a moment to ponder. Suffice it to say, the truck isn’t one of those posh “luxury” vehicles with a box on the back. Oh no – it’s rather… standard. As in Standard steering, standard brakes and standard transmission. Not a cool stick with smooth gliding action, but a shifter that rises from the floor on a steel stem.

This is the definition of "Basic".

Now when Dad bought this truck new, he went for the basic model. Vinyl floors, vinyl seats (which, coincidently, would rip your hide off when you sat on it in July, and gave your hemerroids when you parked yourself on it in January.) and no radio…

but an 8-Track player, ya’ll. If you know anything about the people in Boweryville, you know we LOVE our music – and we love it LOUD. I developed my love of Bass from the blown out speakers that distorted our favorite songs. Dad had an extensive collection of 8-Tracks, including artists as diverse as Neil Diamond and Johnny Nash. I’m pretty sure those two didn’t break bread at any Grammy after-parties.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are about this 8-Track. It helped me with my hand-eye co-ordination, and gave me a new appreciation for my father’s sense of aim. Anyone who has ever enjoyed their favorite artist on an 8-Track, would know that this media was not meant to last. The tape would stretch which would cause the music to distort, which would prompt my father to utter,

“JAYZUS! Roll down the window S!”

Being the good first-born child that I was, and since I was usually at the window with my younger sister sitting in the middle, I rolled down the MANUAL crank as quickly as possible. Usually just in nick of time before he backhanded the offended cassette down the length of the cab, through the open window, and out onto some back country road. Don’t judge him for littering, there was no Inconvenient Truth as of yet. And Thank God – because he wasn’t the only one using ditches as personal garbage cans.

So with the anticipation of more heartwarming memories, I agreed to join him on his trek. There is preparation that must take place when taking the truck out for a tour. The most important is THIS

must be down. No need for any more drag than we already have. Oh, and did I mention, the box has been reinforced…

…because many a cattlebeast has been transported in this puppy, and let’s face it – we need more weight in a three-quarter ton.

As we pulled out onto the highway, I felt we were moving a little slower than I’m used to. Dad points out that the mileage (snicker, chuckle) on the truck is best economized at 50 mpg. Now, we live in Canada, so the entire Imperial System is a mystery to me, and apparently the other drivers, as we were passed repeatedly as we got up to “speed”. I anticipated a certain route for our drive, but was advised we should plan our trip based on where the gas stations are.

We were blessed with a beautiful day. Sunshine and warm breezes met us, and the windshield of the truck, which concerned my Dad considerably. Needless to say we have no air conditioning, so the windows are down and the extent of our conversation is pretty much as follows.

“WHAT?”

“DID YOU SAY SOMETHING?”

“I CAN’T HEAR YOU, WHAT??”

“FORGET IT!!!!”

Quality father/daughter bonding, wouldn’t you agree?

After the repair was done, I’d had quite enough of being a spectator and offered to drive home.

Don't worry - he started breathing again soon after.

I must have caught him in a weak moment, because he handed over the keys. Either that, or he’d been waiting for some comic relief.

Do you have any idea of how heavy a three-quarter ton truck is? Now try and turn it in an intersection with standard STANDARD transmission with a high clutch?? All I can say is, I’m glad I could give the ol’ boy a chuckle. I would, however like to cuss out the Dodge Caravan driver who doesn’t realize that ROUND-ABOUTS ARE NOT ROUND-ASTOPS!

Suffice it to say, that loser is going to have nightmares of this…

…all up in his business for a long-long time.

And I was up most of the night with Ice Cold on my forearms. My biceps, however, ROCK!

Citius, Altius, Fortius! or in other words – Track & Field

These past two weeks have been a flurry of athletic endeavors in Boweryville.

Between the ball games, the lawn cutting and Track & Field, we have been at our maximum physical output. (Those of you doubting the lawn cutting have yet to see our far from manicured yard.)

This is a big deal in our house, especially for Second Born Son. He anticipated his inaugural season of Track & Field last year, but was thwarted by a little event we refer to in these parts as The Royal Wedding – Part II. Little Sister’s wedding landed on a Friday which was the same day as the boys’ school meet. After all the shoe scuffing and head lolling was over, we vowed to come back bigger and better than ever for the 2011 Season.

SBS signed up for all the events he could and eagerly anticipated the day. Would I come to watch him? Does a Polar Bear have frost bite??

Packing the trusty Nikon, I headed to the field and waited for him with eager anticipation.

To be brutally frank, I hadn’t expected too much from the lad, since he has proven to be more of a morale booster than a tightly wound competitor. But something was happening…

and then….

That, my friends, is called a photo finish. Which led to this…

In the end, he got it by the hair of his chinny chin chin. Two firsts, a second and….

one of these for Standing Long Jump. Boyfriend would have done better in Ball Throw with his wicked arm, but there’s a little thing called “accuracy” that trips him up every time.

First Born Son participated too. But I was forbidden to be anywhere near him during his events. I get it. I’m cool like that….I know what it’s like to be a young teen and not want to be saddled with the presence of a parent, especially when other equally cool punks teens are in the area.

So I did what any other mother would do. I broke out the long lens.

This is from one side of the track to the other. He never knew I was there, until that night when he bemoaned the fact that I had photos of his brother, but none of him. Tee hee.

While FBS didn’t perform as well this year as in the past, mostly due to the fact that when you are pre-pubescent, your buddies are as tall as your Dad and can whup your arse in most sports. I told him to buck up and try again next year. SBS, however, qualified to advance to the County Meet which, ironically, takes place at his school this year.

In typical SBS style, he had a classic quote last night for his impending athletic endeavor.

“I’m really nervous about tomorrow,” he said.

“Why? You did really well at the last meet, just do your best,” I reply.

“But we are going to be running against the Mennonite kids,” he stated.

*crickets*

“They can RUN!” he said. “I don’t know how they do it – and they are in their bare feet – you’ve got to watch out for them!”

I didn’t tell him that the Mennonite religion and culture forbids the use of Wiis, iPods, or even Nike shoes. I was compelled to use religious conviction, but that seemed a little far fetch – although some theme music did pop into my head.

The Search Continues

The search for solid, regular employment continues….

While I had a flicker of hope, it was not to be and, if anything, became a learning experience. As all great stories begin – “Once Upon A Time……”

I applied to a company who posted a position online, on one of the many workboard websites I check regularly. This company was not far from where I lived and I was excited by the fact that I could be a manageable distance to drive, while continuing my career in a logical direction – Communications.

Off went my carefully crafted resume, with ample references and even a letter of referral. I am set! I don’t hear anything for a couple of weeks, which is fine, because with the drama of family life in Boweryville, I honestly didn’t have the brain capacity to handle any more.

The day before the funeral, I receive an email, asking if I would come for an interview the day after the funeral. Knowing how much sleep I’d had (very little) and how much needed to be after the burial (very much) I requested the following day – which happened to be Friday the 13th.

I should share that this is a business operated on a family farm and I felt it was rather providential that only weeks after severing one farm from my life, that there might be an opportunity to have a new one enter it. A drive-by of the establishment gave me a heads-up of what to expect and how one might approach an interview there. I decided to tone down my usual appearance, since the funky hair, full war-paint and dynamic-or-I’maseriousworkinggirl ensemble might be overbearing for this occasion.

You have NO idea how hard I had to look to find this picture - but totally worth it for the hair alone!

I enter the building in perfect time for my interview and I’m introduced to the lady who will interview me. She’s having a reaction to me, and it ain’t positive. She looks me up and down and the eyebrows go up. What. The. Hell?

We settle in a side room and the first question is rather direct, and to the point.

“So, why did YOU apply for THIS job?” she asks.

Cue crickets.

What she meant to say is, “Why does someone who dresses and looks like you do, want to work on a farm?” So I tell her I grew up on a farm. Her eyebrows shoot up again. She doesn’t believe me! I can’t believe it, but I’m on the sharp end of a stereotype! She can’t see me on farm and talking crops. Little does she know, but I have stories of prolapsed calf beds that can rival that of a veterinarians. I explain about the farm I grew up on, the animals we had, the life I enjoyed there. I tell her about showing horses, grooming and tacking them – about the laying hens we had as well as the pigs. She’s no poker player. She’s doubtful.

We talk about what the job is, what the pay is (:|) what the industry is and what the needs are for promoting and communicating their message in the 21st Century. I broach the subject of the first generation website they are currently using, just in time for her husband to join us.

“Website people have been trying to tell us what to do with our website for years!” he proclaimed. “They don’t know our company. They don’t know our product. Our website is fine for our customers!”

And that, my friends, was the death knell of this conversation.

There’s no point in hiring a communications hack if you have nothing new to communicate. Just sayin’.

I left the interview satisfied that I’d given it my all. I didn’t expect to hear back from them to tell me I didn’t get the job. It would have been a waste of both of our time.

Imagine my surprise when the following Tuesday comes around and First Born Son tells me I’ve got a job. He heard a message being left on the machine from my lady friend – saying how I’d make a great addition to the team.

Huh?

I play it again. Still very confused. The Big Guy listens to it and comes to the conclusion that this lady was not at the same interview I was at. Certainly not on the same page! I think it over and my stomach, which has always been a great gauge for any decision I make, tells me this isn’t for me.

So I call her and tell her I’m surprised she offered me the job, given that I didn’t think she particularly cared for me. She’s stunned. I’m stunned that she’s stunned.

I spend the next few minutes explaining that I don’t think we are a good fit, and she spends the following minutes trying to convince me that we are. She wants to better the wage offer, but would like to do it in person – would I come down and meet her son, who runs the business?

Against my better judgement, I agree to, but not before I point out that there needs to be a creative environment, regardless of who they hire, otherwise, why bother with a marketing position?

The sequel interview goes no better. The son is nice, but the conversation is stilted. I feel like the bride in an arranged marriage – that I’ll just agree to this proposition. They offer a “bit” more money and I ask for the evening to make a decision. All the way home, I know the decision is basically made. If for no other reason, than my gut is telling me this isn’t going to work.

“Your gut is never wrong,” The Big Guy tells me. “Let it go.”

So I do and pray for a sign that I didn’t make a big mistake. An hour later I go through the job websites and find four new prospects….