Monday, September 5, 2016
I know I've said it a million times... be careful what you wish for, it might just happen. A couple posts ago I was complaining about how my commercial landscaping gig is killing me, and that I should be looking for something else to fill up my work week. That day I'd ended up taking off to go to the doctor as the heat was overwhelming, I was having a hard time recovering after each day out in the field. The following Monday it had finally cooled off. I had come to terms with my job situation and decided that I'd stick it out, considering there's only 6 weeks out of the year that the heat is unbearable. I'd just find ways to cope and carry on.
My boss and I were raking up at the end of the day, and we were talking about our health situations. She's been dealing with some issues for a long time and had told me back when I was first hired that she was going to grow the company and hire more labourers so that she could get out of the field in the next few years. A visit to her specialist threw a wrench in her plans. The state of her health is declining so rapidly that she was advised to stop working in the field ASAP as it's doing further damage. She can't stand the idea of sitting in an office, so she decided that this is it, this year will be the last season before she sells it off. So regardless of my decision to stick it out, I'll be finding other means of making money come the end of the year.
We discussed other ways to rack up some loot. She was considering getting back out on the road to chase forest fires and collect the mushrooms that come to follow. Or pinecone collecting, recycling, anything to make money on one's own time. She was throwing all these ideas at me and telling me that I should consider doing the same thing. Otherwise I'll end up like her, breaking myself to make a bit of cash. Living paycheck to paycheck simply isn't worth the damage that this line of work does to your body over time. I've got to figure it out.. there's two more months til the end of the season then I'm on my own. Again.
This is my 6th job in two years. I know I said I was retired and all when I left Ontario, but money needs to be made. I suppose I was simply retiring from the monotony of city living, from being employed by the same company for over a decade. Retiring from the idea that one needs a long standing steady career to get by in this life. I've already been living an unconventional lifestyle for years, so I may as well come up with some unconventional ways to make money. What to do, what to do.. I'm brainstorming ideas for this coming spring.
Some people find security in the idea of having a long term career to retire from, a pension, a mortgage or a lease.. I've never felt very secure in those kinds of situations. Every time I try to conform to that sort of lifestyle, I lose my shit. I feel far more comfortable and secure in the idea of being free to go with the flow. Change with the seasons, move on to wherever I need to be. It's not always easy to keep up to a pre-determined work schedule based on someone else's time when you don't know where you'll be crashing or camping out from one day to the next, or how the weather will be and what gear you'll need ahead of time. It's time to convert the money-making part of my life to match the living situation. Permanence in transience. The only constant is change.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Two years. Honestly, I didn't foresee myself still being here by now.. I'm not one to stay anywhere long. It's definitely been anything but boring. When I arrived here off the greyhound bus, I didn't really have much of a plan. I stayed with a good friend from back home, wandered around the city, and took off to the island to visit for a while. At that point I had no idea what I was doing or where I'd end up.
A lot of people move here from the east. A lot. Not many end up staying though.. at least of those I've known. It can be difficult to make a life for yourself if you don't really know anyone, or have any sort of resources lined up before you arrive. I was very lucky to have a place to crash right away, and every step from there has been a challenge and a blessing.
The first job i picked up quickly, I was pretty much hired the day I applied. I worked in one of Canada's biggest grocery warehouses receiving enormous trailer loads of fresh food orders. Graveyard shift. It used to be my favourite hours to work, but my internal clock no longer agrees. I worked through fall and winter, lived in an international hostel all the while, until I had to get on a bus back east to deal with the bit of mess I left behind.
The bus i'd taken back nearly rolled off a mountain pass in a snowstorm, and you better believe my whole life up until that moment flashed before my eyes. I'd decided then that my westward journey was not about to be over. Go take care of everything I'd set out to, and return as soon as I could. The average temperature was minus 20 degrees celsius the whole time I was in Ontario. It reminded my quickly what I wasn't stoked on about the climate back home.
As I was on my way back west I received a text saying a room had opened up in the slanty shanty. I was pretty stoked. As soon as I arrived I parked my luggage in my new room and started seeking out another job. Within minutes of applying online I was hired as a merchandiser for a hardware store. I told them right away no Wednesdays for me, I've got some gardening to do.
I kept it up until I found other outdoor work. By the end of summer I was rocking two landscaping jobs [with some pretty sweet views] and enjoying the slanty shanty home base. There was plenty of front porch chillin and days of cribbage to be played. Autumn came quick and so did the rain. Halloween night, the heavy rain washed away what was left of the shingles over my bedroom. I had to leave [and find a way to dry all my things out] immediately. With few options, a line of credit and a friend in a similar situation, I threw down on a pickup truck. The road became our home.
Winter was adventure time. I got to know the lower mainland and the mountains and valleys beyond from the passenger seat. The backroads map book became my friend. We found mud and snow and mountains to ascend and plenty of places to camp. One spot in particular became our mountain base camp. After several consecutive weeks of returning we had built furniture, a tipi to keep the firewood dry, and cleaned up the surrounding area. Once spring came and my employment insurance ran out, I moved back to town with my tent to get back to working full time, and left the truck to my friend. He built up the camp further and took care of it so there was always that place to go back to. Definately one of my favourite spots, and one of the few places on this end of the country that I felt I could call 'home'.
Shortly thereafter I was taken in by an Angel, and was granted some floor space to use during the work week. I still make use of that space [and enjoy her company] a couple nights a week, couch hop, and log plenty of hours at my partner's family trailer home renovating for the rest. Needless to say, I keep busy.
Regardless of the scenery, I do believe there's no way I would have stuck it out if it wasn't for all the people I'd met along the way. There's so many to be thankful for.. The two lovely ladies that I work with half the week, my crazy and amazing friends from the streets, the fella I hit the road with [and his sweet, beautiful dog], my rad as f*ck partner in crime, all the homies that come and go, and of course my good friend and brother that convinced me to come back out here in the first place. Let's not forget all my friends and fams back home looking out for me, and encouraging me not to give up.. for all and all of you, I am blessed. I wouldn't be who I am, or where I am without you.
Two years down, many lessons learned, and many more to go I'm sure.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for the company.
Friday, August 26, 2016
So, I've been mobile again since my return from the east. It happens. That said, I really haven't had a minute to sit down at a computer, thus I'm [finally] attempting to write from my phone. Seems to be working so far..
That week of flight took me right out of the grind for a much needed moment, even though it was to say a sad goodbye. I found a moment to say an awakening hello to my-self. I was forced to consider what it is I really want from this life, and what I'm willing to do to make it happen.
I've never had an easy time making decisions, mostly because I'm never exactly sure of what it is that I want. Finally, after almost 13 years bombing around this country aimlessly, I'm starting to figure myself out.
As far as calling someplace home, I've been trying to settle into that idea for years. At least I've got it narrowed down to my province of choice. I'd been procrastinating since I came out here about switching over my provincial identification, and I finally made the move a couple months ago. Had I not, I likely would have panicked at the time of my good friend's passing and rushed [regrettably] back to my hometown. As much as I do miss everyone, and wish I could be closer to home, I know I'd miss it out here too much, and spend my nights lying awake wondering what I could have done with myself if I'd just stuck it out.
Which brings me to my next big self-learning realization.. what to do for a living. I learned a few times over since I've been here that I'm long done with the big box warehouse and retail scene. Even in a garden center it just didn't work for me. I finished out the season last year doing mostly commercial landscaping, and though I wasn't fully keen on it at the time, I figured it's better than what I was doing. But I didn't get called back this year, so I had a little more time to think things through. I picked up more residential gardening work which is what I love doing, but it's only a couple days a week. I found another commercial landscaping company to fill the remaining three days, but the work plus the weather is killing me.
I'm glad I picked up more gardening in my down time. It gave me an opportunity to make it my priority, having other jobs working around my schedule instead of fighting to get them to work around mine. Slowly but surely, I'm taking control of my future career situation. Taking my time and learning along the way. Now if I could just figure out what to do for work the rest of my week that doesn't kill me, keeps me afloat financially, and doesn't take up every day of my time. I'm done working weekends, that's my time for me.
Enough about work. That's pretty much what I've been up to all summer. Funny I spent all winter out there venturing around, and vacation season busting ass. I need a balance. I'm going to sink if I don't figure it out soon. It's important that I get my health back in order. Reduce stress. Enjoy life. All the things. I'm thankful to have met someone this summer who keeps me in check. We enjoy the little bits of time we have together and work away the rest.
That's about all I got for now. I'm still here, making it through somehow. I have arrived, I am home.
Friday, July 1, 2016
eleven hours from now i'll be at the airport. i wasn't really expecting to be going home any time soon. the circumstances i'm still having a hard time believing. the loss of such an amazing friend, father, brother to so many.. and husband to an equally amazing, loving wife. the two of them are one of a kind. i guess it was his time to fly. so i'm flying home to say goodbye.
or see ya later..
i'm at a loss for words really. what can i say? there's not enough words, or the right ones.. he was a gentle hearted fella with a warrior spirit. his love for life and his kids and his wife was always apparent and abundant. more than just a give you the shirt off his back kinda guy, the help you move with his minivan in a heartbeat kinda man [even if he could barely move himself].. he truly was a brother and a good friend to many hearts.
i'm often reminded of a conversation we had a good many years ago. i was telling him about how frequent and crazy vivid my deja vu experiences are. and how on the odd occasion i'd know something already that i could have never known before that deja vu moment. i asked him what it meant. i knew he'd have the kind of answer i was looking for.
he: so basically, those moments are significant somehow. a sort of sign that you're on the right path.
me: even when shit's fucked up?
he: *chuckles* even when shit's fucked up. i hate to say the old cliche, 'everything happens for a reason' but..
me: everything happens in it's time.
i had a really strange and fleeting deja vu moment while talking with a friend about the garden and when i realized it, i recited the above conversation. i found out about an hour later he was gone.
so many incredible people have been taken from us in the past short span. it's hard to try and find the reason, or believe it was their time. but we are bluntly reminded not to take our days for granted. to love and live like any one of 'em could be our last. celebrate the small things. don't sweat the big ones. smile. have cake for breakfast every once in a while. enjoy all the good stuff this crazy life is made of.
rest easy papa Clay. we're gonna miss you man. we already do.
lots of love.
thank you to everyone who has extended a hand to get me home. thank you to all the kind folks who have sent funds to help support his family and take care of things in this time of incredible loss. your kindness is a blessing.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
i love Wednesdays. it's hard work. playing in the dirt. the sun. planting, pruning, snacking, laughing.. making some decent loot. it's using every muscle in my body. lift, bend, dig, climb, haul. it's epic views. the smell of the ocean twenty feet from the shore. the rain up on the side of the mountain. since i moved to BC, it's been my favourite day of the week.
it's been my only constant. everything else has changed several times over. i've had four other jobs, lived in several places [or no place at all], had many friends come [close] and go [far, far away], experienced varying levels of health and sickness, love and loss, been ballin' and broke [especially the latter].. Wednesday was the one thing i could count on no matter the circumstance.
i want more. more garden time. more working for someone local and independent who actually gives a shit, rather than being a number in a box. something more fulfilling. something i can be proud of when i leave for the day. more hard work that feels like play. more outside with better pay.
i'm on the hunt.
the grass doesn't care what you dress like. the weeds give zero shits if you're having a bad day. head down, music on, and work the hours away. the arborscapes absorb my anger. the sweat always hides my tears. and when i have something to smile about, the flowers melt away my fears.
i need this for my sanity.
that and.. if i don't make something happen real soon, me arse be back out on the street. i have some leads. just gotta keep my shit together to make it happen. it's hard to get out of bed sometimes. to leave the house.. now that i'm in one. it's hard to maintain a balance. to not become anxious when it's time to walk out the door. to be confident the world won't crush me. or my mind or my heart..
but it's Wednesday tomorrow. my favourite day of the week. rain or shine. the soil calls me.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
pshh yeah right. i'm trying. realllly really trying not to stress. it's literally what's eating me. i've been on my own more or less since high school and i've always been really conscious of my financial situation and staying employed, even when i travel. i'm now in the worst financial state i've ever been in, and i can't really work full-time right now.
i broke the bank, and i broke meself. i can stretch the rest of my income from the spring to get me through til the end of this month, which works perfectly as i need the time to heal. but i pretty much need to find work immediately in July to keep a roof over my head, my shit in storage, and my credit in good standing. oh yeah, and like.. eat and stuff. and i'm having a hard time getting it out of my head so i can just relax and do what i gotta do.
i'm not typically one to worry too hard about a place to live, don't usually have one for long when i get one, evade leases like the plague. for right now though, in order to ensure i have a proper chance at getting my health back in order, i need this. i know it isn't going to last forever and i have no idea how long til it ends but i have to stop over thinking. it is what it is right now. i have a kitchen and running water and electricity that i can make use of in all the ways i need to to getr done.
spent the morning spending what little i have left right now collecting some the tools. i busted out the hand crank juice press and made a delicious mix of veg and fruit juice. probably the most satisfying thing i've sipped in a couple years. i forgot how much i loved this shit. healthy and delicious is a thing! went and grabbed a cheap immersion blender for all the soups, a big ass bucket to grow some sunflowers in, and some mason jars to seal in the freshness. i'm just about set for a relaxing, cleansing month of gardening, patio farming, juicing and healing my wholeness.
yeah i said that.
ultimately i'd like to continue this trend moving forward. i'm kinda done busting ass long hours just to get by. i'd rather just work enough to keep my shit in order, for someone who actually cares, and then spend a lot more time working for myself, and taking care of myself so i can take care of my loved ones and get shit done.
i'd like to make more headway into the lifestyle i've been dancing around all my life. i'm transient, i don't need much, and i love to grow things. next mission: tiny home [on wheels], space to grow, and time to live it. it's really all i need, and all i've ever wanted. oh and someone rad to live it with. that's a thing.
just live. stress free.
i can do this. i gotta write it out to psych myself up, and share it to commit. thanks everyone who reads this shit and kicks my arse into gear. if it wasn't for you cheering me on and checking in i wouldn't be here. literally. imma sit here with my green medicine, and worry about nothing else but the veggie soup stock i got rockin on the stove. work can wait. money can wait. the world can wait. me first. sorry not sorry.
Friday, June 3, 2016
ahhh that was a depressing visit to the doc. i'm in a little worse shape than i thought, but overall i'm confident i can fix this. to summarize, i need to give my system a boost and a really good cleaning before my innards decide to stop working completely. gotta cut out all the bullshit for at least a month to let myself recover. stress included.
lucky for me i kinda dropped out on that garden center job. i still have the gardening and hopefully enough incoming from the last couple weeks to float me until July. six days a week burnt me out in 3 months after being laid off [and stressing hard about it] for almost two months prior. i think the experience as a whole since last december threw me into survival mode for so long it wore me out completely. there's no way, right at this moment, i could go back to living out of a pickup truck and working labour jobs every day of the week, and busting ass in the woods that one day i have off. it'd kill me for sure. i need a minute.
sleep is key. i need to do more of it. the sketchy scheduling at the garden center threw me off. some days i'd start at 6am, others i wouldn't get off till ten at night. followed by a long hard day in the sun/rain/whatever landscaping. i need this time of working part time to recover my health so that i can ready myself to make some loot and enjoy what i've got. i'm no good to nobody if i'm dyin' or losing my mind. my full time job for the next 30 days is to get better. or get a damn good start on it at least. i know it's gonna take time, and a full out permanent change to keep me good for a while. i kinda want to stick around n see what happens so.. i'll do my best.
i have to stop worrying. anxiety is my enemy. i have to not worry for a minute that i won't find enough work to cover my ass when i'm ready. i have to not worry about the impermanence of my living situation and embrace the fact that i have what i have right now, and do what i can. i have stop worrying about things i can't change. i have a lot to be thankful for. and look forward to. and enjoy right now. there's no sense in this wrinkle in my forehead.
i dug out the old health n fitness blog. it needed to see the light of day again. i had to call myself out.... again. i did so back in december '14 when i realized i was slipping. and i did nothing to fix it. in fact i made it worse. go me. i rock at life. well i did once and i want to again so this be the mission.
got the hand crank juice press ready for the morning. can't locate the extra bits for my blender, and imma have to grab a few things hopefully cheap to get the ball rolling. i'll need a thermal lunch container of sorts to keep ma shiz cold and fresh, a case of mason jars, and a few jugs and bowls for prep. good thing i've done this a few times. sigh.
i choose to live.