the red stare

This is my last of three days off work in a row. It’s been great. I haven’t done anything exciting but it’s still been really…refreshing. Jeez, I hate using that word. It reminds me of boring people going to spas for relaxation bullshit but besides that association, it’s the best word to describe how I’m feeling. I had been running myself into the ground with work, chores around the house, and working on our cabin, so I made a point to keep these three days free of any serious plans. I just wanted to sleep in, hang out with the animals in the yard, and take the dog for walks with Jenn. Turns out that’s just what the doctor ordered because now I feel ready to return to work tomorrow.

Vacations are strange. It’s not like they can make you start loving a job that you hate but if you are feeling burnt out and sick of a job you usually like, they can sometimes help to rejuvenate your passion for (or at least your ability to tolerate) the job. When I was a kid, I never thought of vacations in those terms. I guess I didn’t mind school so much that I needed a vacation to offset the misery — school was fine, and vacation was great. That’s pretty much how I feel about my job now, which is pretty good I guess. But every now and then, the balance is thrown out by working too much, and at those times, even a short vacation consisting of doing not much at all is a welcomed reprieve.

Now I’ve got three days of work to look forward to. Not thrilling but it’s fine. I wonder how I’ll feel at the end of that third day. Probably better than I did three days ago.

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Gee whiz, I love time off. Fuck work.

I haven’t worked much in the last week. Jenn and I went up to Sointula for several days to work on our cabin, and then I only have a few shifts to round out the week. And guess what, it’s been awesome.

Today, I did a bunch of laundry and hung it outside to dry, which I always enjoy. I blogged about this way back when, how I find hanging laundry outside really calming and therapeutic. Then I cleaned the kitchen. Then I dog walked with Marion, who is a 10/10 sweetheart. Then I did some gardening for the first time in my life — don’t get too excited, all I did was put some carrot and beet seeds in the dirt. I wasn’t even very careful about the depth or spacing so I’m not really hopeful they’ll grow but we’ll see.

Then I moved the laundry line because it has been slowly pulling our deck railing over for years and it took me a long time to accept the idea of hanging laundry somewhere other than our deck. I can be obstinate, it’s true. Then I moved our ladders to a better, out of the way storage spot. Then I cleaned up my workshop and made a toolkit with all my doubles and redundant tools so we can take that up to Sointula on our next trip — you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve forgotten my toolkit at home and we’ve been caught with our panties down, in desperate need of a crescent wrench or pair of pliers.

Then I put some ads up on craigslist for things I no longer have a use for (fodder for future blog posts), and settled on an old school anthology horror movie to watch on the side of the house with the gang tomorrow night. Now we’re about to go out for dinner with Jenn’s folks.

In short, it’s just been a damn fine day. Slow and easy yet highly productive.

This sort of day makes me think about how fucking awesome it would be to retire right now. I don’t understand people who are workaholics or are constantly striving to climb the corporate ladder. I like my job just fine but man, if I could only do it once or maybe twice a week — even that would be pushing it — just for fun, or if I could quit outright if that felt even better, you can bet your ass I would. I love slow living, just puttering around, doing little jobs, taking lots of time throughout the day to socialize with the animals and nap when the mood strikes me. It just feels really good to relax.

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Lol, nuff said

Living daily life in a Hawaiian vacation state of mind

I’ve been to the Hawaiian island of Kauai a few times, and while I am not a fan of sun and heat, I am a huge fan of the way a lot of people there live. I’ve consistently seen folks of Kauai being kinder and more courteous than people anywhere else in North America, even in high tension situations like rush hour traffic. I’ve also seen lots of large families having get-togethers and bbq’s on the beach — they seem to really value quality time together. And I’ve seen a lot of older people being really active, like surfing and even doing sit-ups at the beach.

I think all of that is amazing. Those are things that I value greatly, and things that I feel get lost in the hectic madness of the North American world. We’re always so busy trying to get ahead, get better jobs, make more money, and buy nicer stuff, that we neglect the stuff that actually makes us happier — like being kind, spending time with people we care about, doing fun things, and staying fit and active.

But what I don’t understand is that most people go to places like Hawaii for vacations to get just a short taste of what life is like when those things are prioritized over rat race stuff. They spend a week there, relax, have a great time…and then head home and jump right back into the rat race.

If people like the pace of life while they’re on vacation in Hawaii, if they like it so much that it’s what they want to escape to when they have some time off, why don’t they just incorporate some qualities of Hawaiian/vacation living into their daily lives so they get small doses of it all the time?

I don’t know. I think probably because we don’t want to stand out from our suburban neighbours and look like some sort of lazy hippie weirdos. And I think it’s tough to change your habits. And I think most people aren’t self-aware enough to realize that they could be much happier and healthier.

Personally, I think most of us would benefit from a bit more of a Hawaiian vacation approach to our entire lives.

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I looked up “family on vacation” pics and found this. Not what I had in mind but I’ll run with it.

A conversation I overheard and didn’t like

Today I was sitting in a waiting room next to a woman who looked like a 50-yr old middle class broad that used to be hot and now she uses botox and a lot of makeup to try to keep looking hot. It wasn’t working for her. She and her lame friends were making lame “this one time in Cancun…” one-liner jokes [cue basic bitch laughter]. I knew right then I hated all of them. It got worse though. The woman in question said she actually did have a HILARIOUS story from Cancun, and it went like this:

She went to a fucking all-inclusive resort and got shitfaced. Some guy hit on her and she said, “I’m old enough to be your mother.” You just know she loved saying that, being past her prime but still being considered acceptable for a one night stand — as if drunks give a rat’s ass what they copulate with. I’m sure a recently deceased senior would suffice most of the time, if the lights were off and the poor old goat was still warm. Anyway, when she saw her husband next, the woman told him about how she had been so wasted that night but was careful not to mention the guy hitting on her. But a bit later, she told the unedited version of the story to one of her friends…and her husband overheard it! Oh my goodness, he was so MAD and JEALOUS about the guy hitting on her!! According to the storyteller, it was NOT a good scene between her and her hubby for a while.

What a shitty story — all-inclusive’s are boring. Going sunny places just to get drunk is boring. Getting the horniest you’ve been in 15 years just because someone hit on you is pathetic. Keeping secrets from your spouse is wretched. Spouses who get upset over non-issues are juvenile. And thinking all of this made for a good story is absolutely maddening.

So maddening, I had to share my misery with the world. There it is, folks. That dreadful conversation is now crystallized on the internet and in all of our memories. Hallelujah. Spread the pain.

i want to understand everyone

i have a strong inclination to understand the motivation behind the actions of everyone i know, and even some people i don’t. i’m pretty much obsessed with it. for instance, how many blog posts have i made mulling over the reason people have kids? plenty. that’s just one example, of course; i also want to know why my friends choose to get married, choose not to get married, pick nicaragua as a vacation destination, buy an SUV, go back to school, invest in ETFs, stop playing drums, live in the city, take up gardening, have a cocker spaniel, watch comedies, and so on and so forth. i’m extremely curious about a lot of stuff.

sometimes jenn has been embarrassed by me asking people pointed questions about this kind of shit. at a wedding last summer, i was asking some friends why they liked montreal so much and jenn later said she thought i came off as judgemental. i was really surprised and bummed to hear that because i hadn’t meant it like that at all. i was genuinely interested in knowing what they like about the place. montreal may not be for me but i know that doesn’t mean it’s not for anyone. i don’t care that people want different things from me, i just want to know why they want different things from me. i want to see life from their perspectives.

i’m really just fascinated by people and their choices. call me whiskers.

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tired of not being retired (at age 36)

i had the last week off of work. not for a vacation, it’s just the way my shifts were allotted, but it was fantastic nonetheless. i had a lot of great sleeps, got lots of exercise in, started work on fixing up our travel trailer, helped jenn with working on her horse trailer, played a lot of tetris…nothing to write home about but just having the freedom to do that kind of stuff at my leisure was so lovely. and it got me to thinking how much i look forward to retirement.

i plan on retiring ASAP.

i think a lot of people would roll their eyes at that kind of statement, like ‘dream on’ or ‘you’re a lazy sod’ or ‘yeah, you and everyone else.’ but not having kids and having a dual income household certainly makes early retirement financially possible, and i don’t think it’s a lazy pursuit at all. in fact, i think it’s a great one. what’s the point of living if not to enjoy our time here? if busting your hump is the only thing in life that you enjoy then fill your boots i suppose, but i don’t believe that all the workaholics in the world are that way because they like it. i think they’re usually like that for a number of unhealthy reasons — guilt, lack of self awareness, poor relationships with their spouse, etc.

i even used to be a bit of a workaholic myself. then one day when i was trying to decide if i should take yet another shift, jenn said to me, “no one ever died wishing they had worked more.” that really hit home for me. i like making money and being financially comfortable but i don’t want to get hit by a car, lay dying on the side of the road, and have my final thoughts be, “oh no, i should have visited russia when i had the chance,” or “i shouldn’t have worked christmas day last year. it would have been nice to spend that last one with jenn.” there needs to be a balance between making a living and actually leading a life that i love.

as much as i like my job and most of my co-workers, i like sleeping in, road tripping, camping, watching the chickens in the yard, working on old cars, and hanging out with friends way more, so working takes a definite back seat to all the rest of it.

that being said, i really need to get over my fear and get to russia sometime soon.

Photographer

i want to see this, bad.

the impending summer of satan

jenn and i like going on big summer road trips. one of my fave memories of our many trips is not of a place or activity but a weird feeling i experienced one year when i read robert nye’s faust while on vacation. it’s a great book and really affected me — i felt happy and good about summer and all the fun things we were doing, like exploring forests and small towns and lakes and various sights, but there was also a feeling of dread, of fear, interlaced with all those good times and pleasant vibes because of faust. it really added a strange and fascinating dimension to the trip for me. it was like the specter of the devil and all intangible evil cast a shadow over all the wholesomeness of our summer fun.

and i loved it.

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good book. i recommend it. even jenn liked it.

it was because of this experience that i recently ventured into russell books with benjamin (sorry if that tidbit gets you divorced, benny). i was in search of well-written dark books to enjoy on upcoming road trips. not stephen king “and then the vampire swooped down and said lunch time as he bit her lovely milk-white neck” stuff. i wanted stuff that was more multidimensional and less goofy and stupid — more stuff like faust. so i described my impossibly specific tastes to an enthusiastic russell books employee who did a fantastic job of recommending and finding copies of all kinds of suitable things i’m excited to read. ben also did a quick search on his phone for ‘best satanic books’ and came up with some more good suggestions. i walked out of there with five novels, sure to ruin my summer perfectly.

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it’s going to be a goth summer. these guys look like cenobites from hellraiser. christ, can you imagine wearing all that pleather and PVC in the heat? i bet they stink under there.

and now i can’t wait for the next road trip. offsetting all the fun with a bit of spiritual desolation makes the overall experience much more emotionally and psychologically stimulating. it means i can have lots of fun with my wife, exploring natural wonders and swimming and hiking and whatnot, but also feel a little terrified for the safety of my soul or spirit. it’s a wonderful balance.

maybe if jenn was down to listen to akercocke and voices on the trip, i wouldn’t need to read these books to get my dose of satanism and misanthropy. that will never happen though so i’m glad i’ve got this plan B sorted out well ahead of time. there is no way i’m leaving evil at home on this road trip.