3: I don't believe we've met

I haven't written here in a while, especially if you skip my last post which was an emotional breakdown regarding my non-starter of a writing career. I don't think that was my finest moment but it was certainly very honest and true to how I feel these days (I assume - I haven't read it since I wrote it.)

It would be impossible to detail all of what has happened this year so far in a responsibly-sized blog post. The year 2018 has had the usual ebb and flow of positive and negative, utter wins, bittersweet compromises, and total defeats. I get up in the morning and go to work. Mel's contract was not renewed but she starts a new job on Monday. ("You moved downtown but were both on contract?" Phil my manager asked when I casually mentioned it. Call it a spate of confidence, but yeah, it was the right move.) We go back to Oakville, I would say three weekends out of five. Mel's grandfather (Papa) sadly passed in March, so we are there for her Nonna a lot. I watched her play softball with her now-former company, we played catch to warm up her skills. There was an election with a regrettable outcome. There was Ribfest, where Eric and I went on the tilt-a-whirl and he ogled teeny-boppers with, if we're being honest, disproportionately large breasts and scandalously little clothing. There was Canada day on Centre Island, a beautiful albeit sunburnt day in the water.

Tonight I'm alone. A little later I may get it up to write something I really want to write but for now I thought I would at least check in here. Mel is in Oakville because she's going to Niagara Falls with the family tomorrow. I do like to have some alone time every now and again, because I spent 27 years being very solitary, and thus used all that time to pursue my lousy passions. All in all I'm happy with the trade-off (recent evaluations of things I wrote and said back then reveal I was sad AF) but there really ought to be time for everything. Perhaps on those quiet nights where we're just watching bullshit TLC shows, I'll say "Hey, mind if I try to do a little writing?" And I'll still be here - as here as I would be anyway.

Truthfully, if I had all the time in the world it wouldn't be enough - it never was - for all the ideas I've got. Yes, I had more output back then, but I still lacked focus and drive and was riddled by a crippling fear of success. That's still true by the way. Really it's more of an aversion to the hard work that success requires. I'm okay with floating to the middle of life, because floating is relaxing. And if I'm great, let that greatness be so obvious to others that it draws me up, not that I have to climb up to show them it.

Tonight was farewell drinks for Ira, who is up and leaving us tomorrow, I found out after my extended mini-vacay, my extra-loooong weekend. I had actually really been looking forward to getting home and beginning my rare night of solitude, but I figured since I had nowhere else to be in particular, I could put in a drink's worth of time. To a degree I'm glad I did. At first I was not psyched to be there, re-enacting old parties and gatherings where a conversation is happening to my left and right but I have no way in, so I sit and look around hoping someone will pick up on my need to be rescued. The music is too loud so I can't even really hear what people are saying, and I hate having to talk over noise anyway. Eventually I did have a couple of conversations, one with a woman from marketing that I had sat next to in a fall preview meeting the other day (we chitchatted about bikes and she and her friend who was in a department I couldn't hear clearly despite her saying so twice politely excused themselves to drop their bags off and never deigned to return.) I talked a bit to people from my floor but to be honest I see them so much that while I would love for them to get to know me in a social context, I just didn't have the material. (Then there's always Tony and to a certain extent Don.) But I did manage to strike up a nice little convo with a PRH sales rep who happened to have e-mailed me earlier in the day, so her name was fresh in my mind.

I remarked afterward to Tony that it was just nice to make conversation with a person I had never met before. I don't meet people these days. And it doesn't have to be a meaningful meeting or a significant interaction, it's just the music and rhythm of chitchat and small talk, when it's buoyant enough to sustain momentum. That's a form of entertainment, of performance. I have a hard time reaching out but when the ice is broken I'm good. Well, I'm okay. Better than you might think. Charming as hell.

Well, I've run down enough different things, without saying anything particular of value, which makes this a very conventional, average SWP post. Which makes me feel good and like I can get on with writing something, anything really, for the rest of the night.

Keep on rockin


2. Sometime in the Night

I'm probably overstimulated. It's 12:30 am, well after my recommended bedtime. I can't sleep at all. Sometimes I blame the heat or the caffeine but my mind is abuzz for different reasons. I have not posted in months even though there has been so much to say. Why now? Why this day, this hour, on my phone in the night with such urgent that I couldn't get my tablet out and type this on a full sized device?

On that note I apologize for whatever typos I leave in here, I will be correcting thrm only as I deem necessary. My blog, my rules.

Tonight we watxhed Half-Past Eight PM. This would be the video version I did when I was 18 - the second of three iterations. Today I look at it as something of a dancing bear. It is deeply flawed*, maybe in some ways that are only obvious to me, but the miracle is that I got it done at all. I thought I would reflect on this o my other blog, which I had meant to become a version of personal thst is acceptable for public consumption but nah not yet.

*Autocorrect picks the worst battles; won't correct most of my errors but turned flawed into flawless. How clueless can you get.

So I'm so stimulated I can't stop thinking and thinking. I think about "back then," and the times since, and the changes I would make if I were to do Half-Past again, and the follow-up that never got off the ground and all the years I have spent not writing anything original. Because the truth is I'm spent and I am not sure I truly believe in myself as a writer. Not in the way I did then.

I don't think the world any longer wants thevwriter I thought I was going to be - a hopefully exceptional version of a sensitive-yet-bitter, cliche male woth gender politics that are half progressive and half caveman. Being aware thst thr person I would naturally be is not so fashionable amongst people I wish to please, I no longer have that font of inspiration. I still have Ideas and they are okay, although I was never great at ideas, more at organizing and struxturing, I think. I had one odea ever - put some people onstage/on camera/in a book and let them talk through some shit.

This all is more negative than I thought it would be, I really didn't think I would attack myself so hard.

My point is that to be the person I currently wish to be in society means not reslly doing what comes naturally, because the shit that comes naturally is very out of date and I already did my best version of it. Hence why END OF THE NIGHT nevervended up being what I wanted despite great potential.

And I have a hard time converting my current state into inspiration.

But you know, I do write. And I'm not talkimg about simmarizing old X-Men comics. I do have shit on the go, which I steal moments for at odd times in the day and night - and now could have been one of those times except my brain and heart are so heavy with frustration and self loathing. What a drag.

Sorry, this was nothing. I broke months of silence to cry about my brain going haywire because I can't writr likecI didcwhen I was 18. It's probs best if I go silent again. I'll find a way forward and maybe theb I'll be back.

Keep on rockin


1: You can only control what's in your hand

And even then it may prove difficult.

The internet seems to have nothing for me on this Sunday morning so I have returned to give an account of my first month of condo cohabitation.

It's good.

It's tough keeping the place clean since you know it's just going to get dirty again but every so often you know you need to reset to 0 on the filth scale. Mostly she goes to bed early and I clean a bit. Laundry also gets ignored but that's not new. It feels like the greatest source of tension is getting out the door when I say I want to since there's always lots to do in the morning.

We took a bit to select and order a couch but eventually it arrived and Mel, as she was with the cable, was good enough to stay home and receive it. Then the feet, which had been advertised as needingvan Allen key to assemble (which was included) required a Philips head screwdriver. Eventually it all worked out and we're very happy with our couch but man, what a ride.

Work is fine. For a second it seemed like I was starting to excel but I feel I had a tough week this week and my confidence is a little lower. Probably making mountains out of molehills here but there's going to be an issue with one of my titles on Monday because we had no eeplen at the warehouse until Thurs and I elected to send it out to stores with our regular deliveries and not UPS, so the instock figures will likely look bad on Monday. And I neglected to give a heads up, perhaps because I wanted to see how bad it was. (Feels like I really should have but I had my mind on other things.) And there was one other thing I ought to have taken care of before EOD Friday that I didn't and I'm a bit concerned about being pegged as just not caring.

One thing I miss about working on store, then, is going home and not having and problems stick with you. You walk outvthst door and there's basically nothing to worry about, it's gone. Here it would be the same but I have to reckon with the impacts of my decisions and efforts. I'm sensitive, jittery, self conscious and soft so this can have an effect on my self esteem, not to mention my enjoying my weekend... But hopefully it will also push me to do my job better so long as it doesn't cripple me.

I find my mind wanders, I am more and more seeking the comfort of distraction. Comics and wrestling, topics I consciously got away from in 2016 and 2017, are once again my happy place. The X-Men blog is a fun project, the juice proving more or less worth the squeeze.

We are in Oakville again, as we tend to be every other weekend or so. There is a dual purpose - I knew this was my last shot at putting items into storage and sealing off the Great 2017 Move for good, and this weekend happens to be Mel's Nonna and Papa's anniversary. Unfortunately Papa has been in the hospital for months. So we had Nonna over for Chinese food last night (Mel and I had also had Chinese Friday so we were dismayed but it was fine.) Mel is also planning on visiting Papa in the hospital again today, and I am sorry I won't be able to go along due to my other commitments. I know the first time we went she was rattled by how down he seemed, but the second time he was more up and it was a good visit. It seems like that trend has continued.

There was also some drama at her work that disrupted her week but I think she has worked through it, bless her.

We've both been plagues by bad dreams lately. Hers worse than mine but last night I dreamt I got a visit from my least favorite co-worker ever. Ugggh.

Sometimes everything in my life feels like a laugh, like I am playing adult. THIS is my job? And I get to go home to my OWN place and make whatever dinner I want? And this woman loves me? I'm dangerously close to not taking any of it seriously because of how unreal the last year has felt but I must remember I am lucky and should appreciate it all.

Keep on rockin'


16: What You're Waiting On

I remember my first move. Not, per se, the very first time my family moved since I was born, but the one in 2000, when we moved from the house I had done all my growing up in. I remember we spent the day with the aunts, saw Titan A.E., and had Dominos for dinner, and when we came home we lived in this tiny new place. TV and Internet weren't hooked up yet. I got sick with anxiety. My little body couldn't process it. I had no idea I'd be doing it over and over again for the rest of my life, to where it became a defining feature of my teen years almost.

I'm tempted to run down all of them but  none are important. I just remember how blase I felt when it was time to leave Redbank 2 - where we had lived for a whopping 8 years. I had thought that would be the house I moved out of on my own for my nebulous "city job" I always thought was my destiny but didn't know the nature (and didn't work toward in any meaningful way) and thought maybe it would be where I came back to to visit my mom for years. Instead I moved with her one more time.

Of course I vividly recall moving in to Postridge. That long, tiring day. I rather wish I had been blogging at the time so I could have documented the process, having to plug the electric recliner in to flatten it so it could come in, realizing no dresser would fit in Eric's room so it was pressed into service as a TV stand, etc. I remember lying in my bed with Mel at the end of it, looking out the window at the church, and thinking we'd made it. But really that was just the beginning.

I also remember our big trip to Superstore on day 2, with one cart full of food and one full of housewares... Having now done our first full grocery shop at Longos, I will miss Superstore, if not just for the layout... Shit, man, I've been grocery shopping there pretty much weekly since 2005, even if a lot of the Culham years were just for snacks and pop. That may be the most drastic aspect of this move.

I had this memory in my head that summed up the promise of that first Postridge year. It was a little later in March or April. I had spent the evening working at Coles setting up various new SOHO displays and we were exhausted. It was pouring rain. Mel came to pick me up and generously offered to drive Sandy and Hayley home to Mississauga. Afterward we came back to Postridge and watched Mad Men on Netflix, the beginning of the season with Linda Cardelini. I remember we still had only one couch there and were trying different configurations, Mel and I sitting on the big black chair.

Postridge ended up as something of an unfulfilled promise. If we had moved in together years earlier - maybe instead of going to Culham (as if Eric, or I, could afford it) - it would have been perfectly good. Messy as hell, but fine. But by 2017, things had changed and it ended up not being a place Mel and I could call "ours." So, we left.

There were good times, really I quite enjoyed summer 2016 there. By winter I found myself with one foot out the door.

The transition happened so gradually I can't even pinpoint it. At some point the ban on me sleeping at her place weeknights was lifted and I had no reason not to. After all, with E and B keeping late hours it wasn't ideal for me anyway. And her bed was so much nicer. I do recall frequently but by no means constantly coming back to Postridge while she worked late shifts, memorably to watch Power Rangers with Eric late onto the night. But I was spending so little time there that I remember even at our anniversary, when she got us matching pillowcases I questioned keeping them at my place since they'd see comparatively little usage. By Unc and Sherlie's wedding in late October I was a pro at that kitchen guiding Ryan around it for breakfast that day.

For a while at the end of the year, she was still out of work so I was leaving her in the mornings to go to Coles. Then she started working at CST early in the year so she was the one leaving me. My favorite part of this routine were my Wednesday mornings, when I didn't start work often until 2 or even 3, so I would go back to Postridge and make myself a full breakfast and do what I wanted. And I could always stay up later than her, fiddling on my tablet, since I didn't have to wake up so early. When I started at Home Office and this routine ceased, it was virtually the end of my living at Postridge except on paper and on most but not all weekends. At some point we bought more and more groceries until we got the white cabinet (currently left behind to be used for who can say what purpose.)

So our new synchronized routine began and by the end of summer was well established, especially after she switched from CST to Alamos. Our bus times drifted later as she dropped her morning workouts (and I, King Boyf, agreed to start making shakes and later breakfasts for her.) I would be at our "Spot" (the Union Station sign at Front and Bay, then as the weather got cold, the Longos downstairs from her office) dutifully by 5:30 or so and she would send me updates on how much longer she would be, generally getting the train at 6. Not that that posed too big a problem since the 6:00 train was usually less crowded for an express. This is a good example of information that I no longer need and will thus leave me before much longer, living on only on archive form here.

No more of that. No more coming in the door at nearly 7 - on an optimal night - scrubbing a pan for my own usage to make a quick dinner (I generally didn't, for example, make meatloaf except on nights where I could get a decent headstart somehow.) No more dodging around the giant Breakfast bar in Mel's parents' kitchen, sitting in the wrong spot when someone wanted to look in the fridge* (*this is not strictly speaking impossible at this place either, as soon as we get our kitchen stools. And while I trust that I'll be still the one doing all the dishes, not so much late nights with Mama H keeping me company. Believe it or not I will miss their company... We had all the privacy and independence we could want in a "living with parents" scenario. It almost makes me a touch sad that we didn't make a point to spend more time with them, communally watching Jeopardy and the Goldbergs. But we needed to establish our space, as a day of hustle and bustle in the city, between the office and the commute, often just makes you want to come home, flop down and shut off.

And flop we did. Those hours on the basement loveseat, Netflix on the CRT TV, or more recently Food Network or a random Christmas movie on W... Only for a couple of hours before it was time for a sensible bedtime. Being a daredevil I pushed myself later and later with evening phone sessions reading Twitter or old Observer newsletters... And then waking up at 6, often recently in advance of the alarm, and resting my eyes until the second alarm at 6:25, to do more Twitter or article reading, usually stalling later than I should to shower (ideally around 6:40 or 45 but often as late as 7) leaving myself, well, still plenty of time to do breakfasts, lunches, coffee and a shake before Mel was ready to go - hopefully by 7:50 since that was my prescribed "shoes on and out the door" time. We were not always a finely tuned machine but we had a routine and we were in sync... Which is to say, if I may give myself some credit, I was in sync with her.

So, no more of any of that. I entertain notions of using all this newfound time to pursue personal goals like writing and creating and shit, but time will tell, or if it's just more time we can spend making meals and watching Riverdale.

While I don't foresee myself going back to staying up until 2, I may also be able to break the habit of seeing 9:30 as a good time to be in bed.

It's just funny how much that place started to feel like home. An ad hoc trial run for cohabitation which I recommend if you are in love with someone, I had the corners of the kitchen I knew well. We had our basement pantry, mini fridge, basket on the deep freeze. That corner of Mel's room, with the storage ottoman and milk crate, cluttered as I kept it, became my new center point, after a time when I felt desperately, and sadly, decentered. That view out the window - even as Christmas lights glared in them at this time of year - was my default view. But you know. We brought the bed, the sheets the ottoman (but not the milk crate, and it's not in the bedroom.) We bring as much of that spot as we can. But it's still there, we'll visit (Sadly with my old double bed, which always feels cramped for us). All the junk I left behind at Postridge will still be mine even after I surrender the key. (Some of it is good junk and will be missed until such time.)

You merge homes. You rediscover old stuff and reincorporate an old model of yourself into the current - I'm wearing an old pair of pants that were my go-to in my HMV years but fell by the wayside since Coles. Still fit comfy, comfier than any jeans I have (getting old, feeling less comfy in jeans.) You buy new stuff to fit new needs and question the stuff you already had to fit those needs. Life changes. You evolve. I've moved 6 times since I was 13, bringing as much of myself as I can but learning to leave more behind. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

The move itself was, well, hectic as a move. We did scramble to get our shit together but made it work. I took Thursday off which was a big help. We probably didn't leave ourselves enough time to do my place on Friday, but when the movers showed up a half hour early we were a bit taken aback. And Mama H was none too pleased with how they treated her floor. And I myself was none too pleased with how we (predictably) got to the condo almost *two hours* before our booked elevator time, and Head Steve claimed he might be able to talk to concierge into letting him have access unless they were of certain ethnicities (Head Steve was also Racist Steve.) Predictably he was wrong and I'm gonna have to foot the bill for it. And the other major move faux pas I committed was leaving the cable and internet setup until the very last minute, meaning we won't have any of that until Tuesday, and Mel is going to have to come home from work in the middle of the day to supervise it. I had better treat her right.

It was actually kinda nice, Mama and Papa H, and Dad and Deb, all working together to help us organize and unpack. And when they were gone there was still plenty of unpacking to keep us busy and keep our minds off the lack of internet access and TV. Our only major hiccup was having to go to Union station (a 10 minute mostly indoor walk!) to look up a Chinese place we could order dinner from.

Lots to do.. Keep on rockin
  - Scotto


15: The Dream Sequence

I'm dumb. At least I spend a lot of time feeling that way.

Christmas 2017 in a memory now and like a lot of Christmases, one of mixed feelings. A lot of Christmas at this age is running around trying hard to please as many people as you can and coming away feeling like you weren't successful.  This is added to the stress of attempting to plan a move and really feeling clueless and helpless about it. We haven't even booked a truck successfully and we wanted to move on the 30th. (It's the 27th in case I don't post this right away.) We have hardly packed anything, feels like there's been no time what with Christmas and all... But we've had the keys since the 15th so the only thing stopping us is us.

I just don't feel good all of a sudden. And I don't know if Mel does either. Yesterday, which was a good opportunity to get ahead and pack some, we just shut down. And I could have pushed harder to avert that but I didn't have it in me.

I'll take the blame, always.

Last week was a blur... The previous weekend began with Mel feeling dizzy and us fearing a recurrence of the vertigo that had hit her badly around this time two years ago. I went in to work and brought her secret Santa gift in because I knew she had fretted over getting it and didn't want to see it wasted. On the bus a woman saw the gift, which was intriguingly presented, and struck up a conversation.

That weekend we did our Christmas shopping - the vast majority of it - at Square One, which was hectic and draining. And we watched Home Alone a whole bunch. Monday we had our ceremonial first dinner together at the new place: subs. This had a reasoning to it, as we had picked up a Subway Gift Card for Mel's dad and there is a promo where you get a free sub when you buy one... We had wanted just the gift card and tried to get it at Square One and maybe a voucher since we had just ordered our food, but they wouldn't allow it so we waited.

The week itself flew by, highlighted by a Wednesday that felt like a Friday, with the pot luck and gift exchange. I got a Boba Fett Bluetooth speaker, and the Etch-A-Sketch I bought was a huge hit - not that it was fought over, but many agreed it was a good gift. (Don, who fittingly helped uscwoth many of the vintage toys questions back in our trivia night stint, picked it.)

That day, Philip pulled me aside to offer me a yearlong contract to keep doing IA work, which I'm excited about. Then on the way home we got stuck on the train -mere minutes from Oakville - because the train in front of us had struck a car. No injuries, the car was unoccupied. We tried to take it in stride but man were we on edge by the time we finally got in the door. (Between house hunting, late hours for Mel and other stuff, it feels like we haven't been getting the 6:00 train very often lately.)

Thursday was marked by coffee with Murray as a congratulations and a floorwide Nerf war instigated by the Retail Ops team but really just fought amongst the staff. I actually did manage to get a bit of work done.

Friday might have made a good last minute shopping or packing day but we pretty much just lazed... Although some wrapping did occur. Saturday was a day trip to Kitchener to see Mel's Dad's side of the family. It wasn't a bad visit at all -less of a to-do, I felt, than the same event two years ago, maybe just because "we" (meaning Mama and Papa H) weren't hosting. We only had to drive 45 minutes and bring ourselves.

Christmas Eve we saw Poppa in the hospital andcapent the day/evening with Nonna, watching the decidedly non-festive Raiders of the Lost Ark, the only thing I could find to watch at all. The snow began to fall and fall and fall in a way in hasn't in many years on Christmas. We broke the news that we were moving, which was met with a typical Nonna angle, "Already you no come see! You say come for coff' you no come!" Oh, Nonz. Love that woman.

It was the first Christmas Eve in years I didn't spend at all with my dad, after trying to honor his Xmas Eve Chinese food tradition dating back to... 2007?  2008 maybe? But we did go over for lunch as usual on Christmas Day, after spending the morning at Mel's fam's. Some anxiety was starting to kick up about all the stuff we had to do... And it wasn't helped when we got to datds, got stuck in snow, and while I went to get a shovel some guy behind was very rude to Mel.

We Skyped with James and Amanda and Alan and Pat & Co. I felt we also somewhat shortchanged them on time. We had to rush though because of a hastily concocted plan to get to Etobicoke with mom, which involved a quick gift exchange (mostly housewares since, you know, all the moves.) They seemed to enjoy all the clothes we got them.

Etobicoke was the usual scene, long catchups in the kitchen, kids downstairs gaming... Cam was very pleased with the Raptors tickets we got him.

The snow started to fall again as we got our Uber home. I was glad Mel didn't have to drive in it.

We made it home in time to spend some time with Umc and Sherlie, which was nice, although we were quite 'zausted at the end of a long Christmas day.

It was only the next day when I snapped back to reality and realized we were intending to move less than a week later, and hadn't started packing or booked a truck. I felt like existential shit as we vegetated and watched hours and hours of Mystery Diners and Beat Bobby Flay instead of taking action... But the truth is, Christmas wrecked us bad and we needed the day.

Now it's been a few days and I have the rest of the story, but its a whole other post. Maybe two. Which is a she because I want to write it now but I am quite tired... So I'll leave off.

Keep on rockin'
  - Scotto


14: I'm Underground

Now where were we? I already felt too busy to finish my last post, with its musings on my conversational habits... A fluffly topic from someone whose life was in a bit of a spot - a good one, but an iffy one. I had taken the contract extension to do the Reno project, which I had mixed feelings about but ultimately would keep me in the mix for any opportunities that came up.

It came up a lot sooner than I'd expected.

Only a few weeks later, while I was settling in and ready to make my mark on the job I had been hirss for, we (the print inventory team) were called in to a meeting saying that one of our colleagues, C, would no longer be with us. This was initially framed as being related to "the pod structure" gossip will be what it is and we all started taking stock of the aura surrounding his work station in the weeks and days preceding this. The next day I was called into a meeting with Murray and Philip asking whether I would be interested - and of course I would - in taking on some of C's duties as a way of learning the role...
 Which is to say the role I had interviewed and subsequently been passed over for.

I cannot stress how absolutely lucky I have been in my life. It almost sucks be a use it makes it difficult to discern exactly what I have done for myself. I have often been in the right place at the right tome, or known the right people. I got on at HMV because I had lost my temp retail gig the NIGHT before and this was the one year they were openly recruiting at the mall. I nearly quit because of the manager but persevered long enough to outlast her, and to outlast the one co-worker I dreaded seeing, got to go down with that ship, get a new job at Coles becausd my best friend worked there (and because I was a pretty hot free agent at the time) where two and a half years later - just long enough to get into a rut and for your girlfriend to start to get impatient about what you're ever going to do in life - I was standing next to Sandy when she saw a posting for a summer position that would be a good fit for somebody with store experience looking to move up in the company.

I have been lucky. I have had champions like Bev and Amanda and Sandy and Murray. I like to think I have gotten these opportunities because of that luck but that I have at least the good sense and ability to make something of them. To this day I have no idea what I said to Murray to convince him to hire me (I do plan on asking him someday when we finally get to sit down for a coffee) but if I hadn't made the most of (Optimized!) that role I doubt he would have kept pushing for me.

I was identified as gifted from a young age but had a hard time buying in... I saw myself as average with plenty of good people above me in the rankings. I have a knack for things, sometimes, but am also frequently clueless or behind and I often got frustrated with things that don't come naturally (although I've grown to see where things might distantly click later, which has saved me in recent years.)  And for a supposed would-be writer ideas sometimes come scarce.

But I got this job and it involved 2 weeks of considerable training alongside the person who had beaten me out (she's cool I guess). This while I was prepping stuff for the job I had been hired to do in the first place, which sadly fell by the wayside once this IA stuff really kicked into gear. The more I'm getting used to it, the more confident I've been getting about the future.

So, part two. Funny how your life can change on an innocent phone call. Back in November: I'd been putting off calling back my landlord's agent for days (Tamer rarely calls, does business mostly through Hussein.) I thought it was another case of him forgetting to deposit the check in time. But as it turned out he wanted to say Tamer was selling the house, and how soon could it be ready to show?

Um hold up??

This was something of a flap, and in a hurry we found ourselves scrambling to clean and prep the place while beginning to seek new residences. I had B take the lead in dealing with Hussein as I have basically been cohabitating with Mel and her Fam all year anyway. Aside from momentarily getting chewed out for supposedly eliminating the value of the appliances (by, you know, using them) he weathered it well. Brandon had hoped to stay at Postridge a long while and made an unsuccessful attempt tp bid for it. For Mel's and my part we were already having the discussion about getting our own place (having finally agreed it we needed to move downtown after commuting all year.) So for us the timing was actually pretty good, although I downplayed it. I mentioned before how much luck and timing has impacted my life but honestly getting a hard kick in the ass doesn't hurt either.

Mel and I began the process of looking for places in late November, with her proactively teeing up several viewings and me somewhat lollygagging on it in part due to lack of urgency and being consumed by my new role. We saw several places we didn't deem suitable - a furnished condo at King and Sudbury (about 20 mins west) that was well out of our price range - too much for what you get. A basement a little further west in a very rough neighborbood that wouldn't have been much better. We had a few runarounds and cancelations and saw some more small condos at Church and Carlton that started at our limit and went up. The leading contender for a minute was two floors of a house in Leslieville: 2 bedrooms, so even if it felt a bit far we thought of renting the extra room to Mel's friend Amanda (who is one of my faves of her squad) and the savings would have been a good big deal. But the winner ended up being a relatively spacious condo right in the downtown core - the space, price and location trifecta hit just perfectly (at our limit, squeezed up a hair, but you can't beat the location and the size was very appealing.) We had to pounce but we got it. Now the fun part.

While all this was going on, we had various social obligations and expectations... Our Anniversary on Dec. 4 (a very nice dinner at Stratus) my work Christmas Party the next night, Mel doing volunteer work Wed night, and her office party Friday. We saw the place Thursday (after a cramped dud in the same building) and found out we got it Friday.

My work party, I enjoyed for what it was. Kind of a ball/gala feel. A bit shmoozy, no sit down dinner so you find yourself mixing as best you can and talking over loud music. Some good live music and dancing but ad it was a weeknight I left early. Some cab mishaps. Met Mel at Rielle's and we crashed there, which was a nice preview of being able to wake up in the city. Her party was more like a wedding, smaller group, intimate venue, more games and personal attention, much more dancing - DJ, Friday night, smaller bit still full house. I liked mine more for me, hers more for us and overall. We stayed in a hotel after.

Saturday we went to Dad's for the first time since Eric's birthday and caught him up on all the stuff. And jeez was there a lot. The lines of communication in my family...

That has left us this week to finally treat this like "the holidays" with all the stress that brings. We went to Square One yesterday and it sappes the life out of us. Mel even got sick Friday morning (we worried it was a recurrence of her vertigo but fortunately it seems not.) I went the extra mile and brought her Giftswap gift in for her. King Boyfriend here. This was also the day we were to get the keys to our place and I promised her I wouldn't go up without her.

So much. Very full life lately. It's hard not to stock up all this stuff for a month when so much is going on. Any one week in the last month would have been a whole post with better detail. Wow, life. I can hardly believe it anymore. I'll try to check in again soon.

Keep,on rockin'
  - Scotto


13: The Conversationalist

It has been a hectic, eventful few weeks. I hit the ground running in my new project as much as I was able to. Part of the challenge was that, while presented with the basic parameters of the position by Murray, it was not something with a rigid structure to work within and I had some leeway - in fact something of a mandate - to design the role, perhaps in service of future development, an eye to future incarnations.

I set about making contact with heads of store, scheduling, per Murray's recommendation, in-store visits. I mainly made contact with the Oshawa and Ancaster locations... I later found out that I had caught Guelph between a transfer of power (and I have not yet caught up with the a dual store gm.) And of course the Sherwood Park store has been plenty busy...

We watched Stranger Things S1 and 2 beginning on Halloween (which we had spent at dad's - I had convinced her not to be too dismayed we weren't at wither her place or mine.) We also did our pumpkin carving the day before, getting our pumpkin at the last moment from the left-behinders at Metro (all sold out at Superstore and Longos by that point.) It was a tad slouchy but I thought it had character.

On the weekend after Halloween we went to mom's for the big catch up party. Mel sadly had an event with DFD the next day and we couldn't work out any solution except for her to not come along. I rented a car, which ended up being a VW SUV, and drove the guys myself. (Freeing, but mind-numbingly straight drive.) The event saw us back in kid-minding form, particularly in Aaron, who isn't growing as much as his siblings and cousins - both in that he was born later and his development has not been so rapid. Which is not to saw we didn't still entertain Cam and Ali wirh games and toys when they were 11... 2014 would have been, I believe, late but not beyond the realm of hide and seek and other kiddie stuff. It's just he's the last kiddie left. We did some make-believe, which I enjoyed, gradually adding more layers to his "Aaron as ninja spy" narrative. It may have been the first time he was really encouraged to create in this way because he said he didn't know where it was coming from. I remember around his age I had an ongoing 'Egypt Game" scenario with Drew that played out most afternoons on the school playgrounds.

Also shot pool with Eric, played with Dex, who has gotten very rambunctious and likes taking things he knows he ought not to have, and got the latest transgender buzz from Riley.

After everyone left, braving fierce weather I was Hally not to have to deal with, we watched The Perfect Storm on TV and did our usual "dang, we're still here?" Night at mom and Ross'. We were slow to leave the next day for various reasons, which stressed me out. Driving home was not super fun, in heavy fog, but I managed.

For the Oshawa visit, I took a train out there from Union, and a cab from Oshawa station to the store. It took a while to get one (but I was decently early) and a lady who had gotten off the train at the same time as I had offered to get her husband, from whom she was waiting for a pickup, to give me a lift (I declined twice.) The visit was lovely and they had very good people to show me around, and as I was positioned as the helping hand between store and Hone Office I was greeted as an ally and not an oppositional stooge. Felt good.

On the hour long train ride each way, I got some writing done for my NaNoWriMo project, which I know I won't be getting to 50k words on but I'm putting up a valiant struggle anyway.

Thursday, I went to Ancaster, renting a car for the second time that week (second time ever) and doing something I wasn't sure I would have the balls to do, drive the QEW to Ancaster, which was fun and fairly easy, aside a few dodgy moments. Mel was not thrilled I made the call to do so, but I think/hope she was proud I did. Afterward I drove her to an appointment and we went for Harvey's... Marveling at how our unique day enabled us to eat decently early.

That week, somebody was let go at home office, an IA, which fortuitously opened up yet another one of those coveted "opportunities." So here we are... I'm edging ever so much closer to making myself indispensable just by virtue of having a body and being present, along with a certain track record of not totally fucking everything up that I touch. (Maybe, we'll see based on some of the stuff that's happened.)

At some point it was hatched that I should check in with all the IA's and let them know what I was up to and see if we should coordinate. At some point I developed the idea of doing this in pods rather than bringing it to the Inventory Team Meeting, for a few reasons: one, I hadn't gotten an invite to that week's, so thought maybe it was canceled but even so, I preferred to do it my way because I value close quarters small group conversations. If I had brought it to the group, I would have said my piece, opened it up, and rexieved maybe one hurried question for clarification. My way, I got to have some decent discussions about what I was doing and what others do, often with those I had not yet forged personal relationships. And lastly because it took the kind of initiative I was eager to show, only I hope it was not misplaced.

Tonight it's subs, which we picked up in the city but are bringing home. Perhaps we could have done that better but what's done is done and it didn't occur to us to stay an extra 15 mins or so to eat. Ah well!

Keep on rockin'