Sep 18

And So It Happens

mindofbirdman

I got a call on the long weekend from a buddy out west. He lost a couple of his drivers to illness or injury, I can’t really remember which, and he wondered if I was interested in filling in for him until he could get someone else.

“No, I don’t want to come all the way out there and then not have a month of work. If you can guarantee I’ll be working, then I’d consider it.”

“You know how it is here. I can’t guarantee anything like that, but I’m busy as hell here and have trucks parked with no drivers, so I can say that as long as the weather is okay, you’ll be going.”

I said I’d think about it, but we were busy at work, so I didn’t think too much. I did think it would be nice to see my friends again, so that may have had some bearing on my decision making process.

Then it got slow last week and I only worked half a day, this week wasn’t looking any better, so I talked to my boss. He said that unless something disastrous happened (I work for a disaster restoration company), then we were caught up with everything from the ice storm in the spring.

So I called Tracker to find out the expiry date of my tickets. Looks like I need my H²S and GODI, so I got calling around to set that up. I didn’t want a repeat of last time where I had to sit around for a week, waiting for schooling when I should have been working. It’s not that I don’t like sitting around, and if all of my friends were on welfare I would like it more, but when you invest your time and money into making more time and money, then you kind of want to get at it.

I then got ahold of Alpha Safety in Fort St. John and booked the GRRDI course (GODI equivalent) for Friday. I explained to the girl that I would book my flight early to take the course, because the only other option was Sept 26th at the college and I didn’t want to wait that long. I was able to get into St. John’s Ambulance on Saturday for my H²S, so I would be ready to work on Sunday.

I then booked my flight for Thursday and called Jimmy to tell him when I’d be able to start, because I know he’s got people crying for trucks. Everything was good.

Fast forward four hours and I get a phone call from Alpha Safety to tell me that they didn’t have enough people enrolled in the course, so they were cancelling it.

Really? You didn’t know four hours ago that there wasn’t enough people? When I explained that I would fly out a few days early to make this course, because I couldn’t work without, you didn’t think to mention that you were short a few people and might not be having the course? No? That’s perfect. Bang up job, Alpha.

This doesn’t reflect how pissed of I was, because when I called Jim back later to tell him the shit news, he said that someone had called about a camp job and needed trucks until probably the new year, and I didn’t need the defensive driving course for that.

Sweet, but it doesn’t change the fact that Alpha fucked up. If they had have called and said that they were sorry and had made a mistake, but here are all of the other companies offering the course and what dates they had available I wouldn’t have been so angry. I probably would have applauded their customer service, but they didn’t. They told me when their next course was and made some excuses as to why it wasn’t their fault that there wasn’t enough people.

Maybe it isn’t your fault, but how you handle it is how customers perceive your level of service. I mentioned to you on the phone that you wouldn’t be getting any more of my business, and I meant it. I just hope that you learn from it and don’t do this to someone else.

Now on to sadder news.

I had to say goodbye to the girls this morning. It wasn’t as bad as times before, because I was able to wait until they were gone before I started crying. Well, maybe they weren’t out of the driveway, but they were out of the house. The good thing about it is that today is Liv’s birthday, so at least there were pancakes to soak up my tears. Mmmmm, a short stack of salty flapjacks. It’s the breakfast of wayward stepdads.

Now on to even sadder news.

We are going to visit Sebastard today.

I’m partially kidding, but after that we will be staining the sheets of an airport hotel room on our last night together for over a month. Oh, you thought I was talking about the sexy staining? No. We will probably be having dinner at Lahore Tikka House and you know how a spicy butter chicken ends up.

I'll get my picture taken in this today.

I’ll get my picture taken in this today.

Anyhow, I won’t be blogging very much for the next month, mostly because I will only have my phone with me and I will be studying for my GED as much as I can while I’m away. I also hope to catch up on some movie watching as well. Shit. I guess I’m going to have to pull the old laptop out of the dead electronics bucket and see if it will work for me.

Don’t cry for me Argentina, the truth is I never left you,

Birdman

P.S. To Amber, I know you told me to never go back out there, but it’s different now. I need to know that you won’t beat the shit out of me the next time I see you.

Jul 22

You Only Live Once

mindofbirdmanYou might as well do it right. Right?

After a long, muggy week of work, I planned on heading north and doing a bit of work on the camp for the weekend.

He probably can't drive me to Bancroft hospital, so I left the chainsaw at home.

The winter was pretty hard on the old girl, so after a collaborative effort we got a big chunk of the washed out driveway replaced a couple of weeks ago, and then celebrated my sister’s fortieth birthday there last weekend . A bunch of things were noted for repair while we were there, so I nominated myself and Mrs. Birdman to start on it this weekend, before we took the kids up there for a few days

I should consult with my wife before planning things. If I did, I would have learned about the party we were supposed to attend with the girls at her sister’s place.

I should also consult with work about when everybody is going to start harvesting wheat.

So I ended up heading north with Blue, to put some tar down on a bit of flashing, split a bit of wood, and drink a bit of beer (Everything in moderation, right?). I figured I would be lonely without my baby there, but it turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. I needed to get some things ready for when the girls came up for their first time at the cabin without me, and I also needed to clear my head.

I wonder now if that’s why Paul and Jim used to go up by themselves sometimes?

Probably.

You see for the last few days I’ve been looking at a ton of photos and listening to the same six songs over and over. Great songs, but even better pictures. Pictures of friends, some that I’ve known since I was old enough to know people.

That’s a shitload of beautiful in one spot.

I needed to get away, to just stop and think. No distractions, except maybe the boy needing a face rub or a half deflated volleyball kicked into the woods for him to chase. I got there and opened everything up, tossed out the mice that had unwittingly fallen into the various pails, and then sat down and opened my first of the two beer I had thrown in the cooler with my steak and an ice pack.

I opened the 12V cigarette lighter package that I picked up at NAPA, took it apart, and went over to where the car battery and it’s myriad of wires taunted me. I picked two that headed for the lamp that Paul had made out of an old coal oil lantern he probably found at a yard sale. I spliced the lighter into it and screwed the mounting bracket into the window trim. The girls were going to have a bunch of things that need to be charged and the generator will only be on at night.

I started to think back to when I used to park my ass at Kelly’s almost every night. There was a pretty waitress there that had a smoking ass, and an amazingly dry sense of humour. I knew who she was, but never had a reason to really talk to her. Well, not since I was seven or eight. That’s when her mom and dad brought her and her sisters over to go tobogganing at our house.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed talking to her, maybe more than I liked drinking beer, but that was usually my excuse for going in there. I could tell that she had been raised to not fall for any guy’s bullshit, but had probably heard her fair share of it. She was witty, smart, and strong, but even through her cynical exterior you could tell she had a big heart. Just like her sisters, and her dad, or so I’d heard anyway.

I didn’t really know him well, but I sure knew of him. When they used to come out to the house I wouldn’t have been old enough to care, or appreciate an adult for anything but whether or not they could get me a hot chocolate. Sure he smiled a lot and seemed happy, but they were all drinking in the kitchen and everyone was happy when that happened. I know my parents really liked John and Cathy. My mom always had such nice things to say about them, like what a nice man he was and how perfect they were together. My dad said the same, and Paul always had high praise for him. That probably had a lot to do with his prowess on the ball field, but I know he liked him as a friend as well.

I knew from talking to Becki, that her dad was her model for what a man should be, and that she wasn’t going to settle for less. Same as her sisters from what I know. I know two of their husbands and they are both stand up guys with good senses of humour. You would need them to survive in that family, I’m guessing. From what I’ve heard anyhow, because like I said, I didn’t really know John very well.

After his celebration of life today, I wish I did.

It’s one thing to hear your folks say what a good man someone is, but totally another to be in a room with a few hundred of his friends and family.

You could say it was a titch emotional.

Yeah, that didn't make anyone cry.

Yeah, that didn’t make anyone cry.

I thought I would have gotten all of my tears out after watching the slideshows of him and his beautiful family for a couple of days, but nothing could prepare me for that room. You could feel the hole that he’d left in that small community. You could see it in the tears and hear it in the crackling voices. He touched so many people with his friendship and sheer love of life, that I’m actually quite shocked I didn’t know him better. Those are exactly the kind of people I like to be around. I suppose I had better get out for a visit with some of his girls soon. I’ll probably start at Preston Springs.

I hope I do half as well at helping to raise our girls as John and Cathy did with theirs. Well, I hope I do as well, but that’s a pretty tall order. Luckily there’s four of us to toe that line.

You only live once, John. There’s not a shadow of a doubt that you did it right.

Love is like a dyin’ ember, only memories remain, through the ages I’ll remember, blue eyes cryin’ in the rain,

Birdman

Jan 07

Digging Up Bodies

mindofbirdman

Scooter came over for a visit and we were talking about the new stuff I want to do on the blog. It’s kind of a big deal for me, and maybe for others as well, because I want to start doing podcasts and/or video blogs.

I know it doesn’t seem like a huge deal to a lot of people, but for me it is. I have a lot of stories to tell, and I don’t remember the details of half of them, or even that they happened at all, until I’m reminded by someone. I’m also a shitty typer, and a big fan of winging it, so it seems like a perfect fit for me.

What I’m thinking, is to just have friends come in and have a few drinks while shooting the shit about the old days. The first ones will probably be at the studio or the kitchen table, but I’d love to do some at the camp as well, and maybe a few at some old watering holes. We could get a guy’s weekend going, and do a whole shitload at once, but would probably have to bust it up into small chunks, so you bastards didn’t become bored. We’ll have to try and keep them short, I guess. That will be tough, seeing how long winded I am, but I’m sure we’ll manage.

Maybe some stories from this era? (photo credit - Carolee V M)

Maybe some stories from this era? (photo credit – Carolee V M)

I also want to do a bit where I interview local business owners and people with different careers, but I get to ask half of the questions about random things. The other half can be about their interests, but I want to be able to switch topics on the fly, just to mix things up and keep them (and me) on their toes.

There is another thing I want to work on when my beautiful Mexican friend (not you, Mo) gets some free time, but I can’t divulge any of that just yet. I think it could be really cool if we do it right, from the start.

Do you remember any crazy shit that we, or anyone we knew, did? Do you have old photos of us doing stupid shit? Let me know. I went over it with Scooter and we thought of a couple of dozen stories we could maybe go with, so I’m going to try to get some filmed and recorded this week and possibly have something for next Monday. Hopefully. I don’t know.

These two could probably remember a few stories.   (photo credit: Carrie J W)

These two could probably remember a few stories. (photo credit: Carrie J W)

Seriously, I have no clue what we’re up against with editing video, audio, synching, etc… No clue at all. I just think that we need to do this for clarity purposes, because a great many people have alluded that maybe these posts from a younger and crazier time are just based on true stories, and embellished to make it more fantastic.

Well, they aren’t fabricated in my mind, but that doesn’t mean that I remember them correctly. This is where you come in. We pick a night, have a few pints, puffs, whiskey, or whatever else butters your toast, and we try to remember what happened. On video, or audio if you can’t be identified for whatever reason. How does that sound?

I know for a fact that she will call bullshit on a lot of my memories. Her head was a lot clearer back then. Love you, Mom.

I know for a fact that she will call bullshit on a lot of my memories. Her head was a lot clearer back then. Love you, Mom.

Scooter and I will start the ball rolling and then we can see how it goes. I know that Brad is in for some, and we’ll need Bugs for my birthday at the strippers story, but who else can even remember what happened? I’m pretty sure that you were all a bunch of hammerheads back then too. How about you, Stan? What about the weekend at the camp when Minnie was drinking beer in bed? We almost pissed our pants laughing when Paul started tossing all of the empties out.

Ah well, I know we’ll get a few people out, and maybe we’ll come up with some stories about local legends and whatnot. Who knows?

Uninvited he sat down and opened up his mind, on old dogs and children and watermelon wine,

Birdman

Nov 21

Frick

This is one of those stories that I was reminded of tonight by a friend. It takes place in various spots in Northern BC and it involves one of the nicest, most naive men I’ve ever known. His name is Frick, because the motherfricker said it so often. Seriously. The only time he would actually swear, was when he was quoting what someone else had said. The funny thing was that working in the oilfield gave him lots of opportunity to cuss his face off, while never having to actually swear. The first time I was ever in a vehicle with him was really weird. He drove extremely fast on really bad roads, all the while telling me stories with lots of swearing in quotations. I’ll try to demonstrate with Frick in quotation marks and the original quote in italics. Keep in mind that there are quotes inside of quotes, and the entire thing is a quote from Frick Continue reading

Sep 05

Bring On The Fall – Part 2

Yeah, we had too many photos to do just one post, so here’s the rest of them. If you don’t know the story you should check out https://changethetopic.com/humor-2/bring-on-the-fall/ . It’s the first post in the series, and should provide some semblance of a story.

When we left off, we were at a beautiful private lake, but now we’re back at Stanley and Beaner’s camp again. It was time to party.

This is actually from WWJBD, but it was on the card, so it goes in anyhow. Happy birthday, Princess.

This one is from  the night before, but because we all love Diesel, I put it in.

Continue reading