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The best Mondays of my life !

Nov 26, 2012

Typical monday morning, 7am radio alarm + 1 snooze, that monday feeling, the butterflies in the pit of your stomach, that reminder that it's time to go to work.

Sit up in bed for a minute, dog looks at me as if to say " that time again huh.. ? " , yes, dog, it's " that time once again " .

Stand up and head to the bathroom, shower, notice this rediculous looking " Movember " funky looking thing growing over my upper lip.. a few days to go before i can shave it. .. co-worker group effort for prostate cancer awareness..

Below, ( From November 7th, 2012 ) started growing in, by Nov 26 it was a real stash...... not my thing..... food gets stuck in there.. etc.. meh. but it was for a good cause.. so it's all good.

No time to shave, running late, back to bedroom and get dressed, dog now laying in my bed, head on my pillow as she does every work day ( as soon as i leave the room to shower, she jumps in my bed, pulls back the bed cover and naps in my spot, leaving a nice layer of white dog hair.. but over the last 10 years i've grown used to it .. it's a routine )

Dressed, i walk out to the kitchen, Sandy follows me with tail in high speed waggg mode, it's FOOD time !..

So i give her the grub, chomp chomp.. yummy.. while i freshen up the water dish.

It's late november, and cold, this morning it's -4 celcius ( for the non celcius people, that's 25 f ) way below freezing.


For the past few weeks i've been making due with standard cold gear, specially shoe covers from Mountain Equipment Co-op and rain pants, hoodie, rain coat, neck tube , thin cotton glove liners inside waterproof gortex gloves and Giro helmet .. this all works very well up to freezing but past that, it dont cut it no more.

I devised a shield, with use of velcro U-lock type stuff to cut the wind, turns out it's very effective and preventing frost bite, and allows plenty of air to flow and keep fog at bay.. big problem for anyone wearing glasses, helmets with shields result in a dual layer of fog.. dangerous.

Aaanyways.. on sunday i decided to dig out my snowmobile helmet, it has a dual layer shield with a heating strip built in, goes to a 12v source and heats up nicely, put together a 12v lipo 3 cell pack i had laying around and voila, no more freeezing face.

I have 1 week left to go before switching to car rides, i founnd a friendly coworker who lives up the street from me, same shift, and I offered 60 $ per week for the winter months. Last few years i've been using taxi at 10$ per trip flate rate, so that was 100$ per week. Now that the office is double the distance, taxi is no longer and option.

Compounding things, moncton city bus has been on strike/locked out by the city for contract disputes..


" November 27, 2012

MONCTON The City of Moncton and Amalgamated Transit Union local 1290 have reached a tentative agreement to end the 5-month long work stoppage and put Codiac Transpo buses back on the streets of Greater Moncton.  "

So taking the bus, even if i was willing to waste 2 hours a day sitting and waiting for the round trip, no way to get in for 8am even if i wanted to.

After suiting up, and riding to work thru the typical monday morning, coffee in one hand, cigarette in the other, car driving swarm that surrounds me.. i lock my bike up , outside.. new job site not allowing bicycles of any kind into the building, unlike the old Highfield Square location..

Clock in, sit down, make a K-cup and check emails... the usual monday morning.

Got my first call from customer X, off to a great start, call came thru with very bad sound quality, something about " system , problem, call " and after trying to get more information the call dropped, or he hung up... . either way, not very long after that i get a 2nd call, from Ms.Z, nice french lady, I've talked to her before, after years on the phones you recognize prople by their voice, run of the mill call, go thru the motions, and I tell her i'd call her back since the problem would take time to repair.

Then my phone rang..........this time it's not a customer....

" Can you please come to my office ? " says the HR lady..

Hmm.. ok.. my mind shifts into gear pondering what i could have done wrong... this time..... nothing major comes to mind. Either way, i hung my headset, left the repair of Ms.Z and started walking to the HR office.

As i walk into the doorway, i'm met with bosslady, and 2 x HR reps, i say out loud " Ok, this canot be good.. " ..

" Sit down Gaston " i'm told.

So i sit... and wait for " it "

I canot quote it exactly, but it was something along the lines of

" Due to Corporate Realignment, as of this moment " ( handed a letter marked " confidential " ) your position has been terminated. "

Pouf, mind blown.....

Very few words were said after that sentence, but for a seasoned veteran of 16 years, being put on the spot is common and my mouth usually goes on autopilot.. however.. for one of the very few moments in my life.... i was speechless.

Was i the perfect employee ?.. hell no.

Not / canot go into specifics about the job part, as severance prevents me from saying much.. but let's skip that part for now.


So, there i am, stunned, shocked.. but not mad.... just a feeling of " weird " ...

By this time, it's barely 8:30am, my workday is over, my .. job.. is over... wow.. man.

I ask if i can please take a minute at my computer, the hated bastard work compter from satan himself that loves to hang at the worst possible moments, drops emails while i'm writing.. okay okay.. sorry.. no bashing. .. back on topic. and ask if i can shake the hands and say goodbye to the people i've worked side by side with for 16 years... ?.. " no. you need to leave now, and thru the back door " ..

Nope.. . so i politely got up, put on my helmet, jacket, backpack .. and walked out . the back door.


While unlocking my bike from the rack, and suiting up, i announced my fairwell to the smokers in their hut, lots of " wtf did you do ? " questions, that i had no answers for..

As i pull my bike from the rack, it wont budge, in my stupor i forgot to remove the 2nd lock ( yeah, i use 2 locks on my bike ) ..

Just as i'm ready to go, H.R. lady runs out to get my swipe card and time clock card, still in a daze i hand them over...

It's at this point it hit me, i'm riding home, form this job, for the last time.....

A cold wave of euphoria ran thru my veins, oh wait, that's the -4 celcius and the heavy windchill factor of -15c , and i am not wearing my shoe covers , or rain pants....... stood there for a second before setting off.. should i try to go back and get my gear ?.. will they let me in ? . oh.. to hell with it. i'm going home.

I set off, immediately i noticed something is wrong with my bike, stuttering and the throttle is not responding properly, this is usually a sign of water intrusion causing failure ..... the thoughts going thru my mind at that moment are probably best not put into words.

I pedaled a bit to gain some speed, all of a sudden the motor kicked in and smoothed out, so i kept the throttle on and pointed home..

Cold.. very cold... the entire thing was.. body and mind both in a state of shock.

I found myself talking into my helmet, to myself, out loud, oblivious to my butt being on a bike ripping thru morning traffic at 60+kph .. I recall passing a red light.. maybe 2.. not entirely sure.


Arrived home, was greeted at the door by Sandy, tail wagging, happy dog she is, " oh cool, you are home early ! " .. little does she realize.

I sat down, for a moment, to warm up and let the brain catch up with reality.. What just happened ?... sandy brings me a stuffed duck, nicely covered in drool, chrews it. squeak , squeak, and drops it at my feet ..

This put an instant smile on my face and made me laugh out loud.. dogs rule !

After a moment passed, I turn on the TV , grab the logitech harmony remote ( love that thing... first universal remote that " works " ) hit " TV " .. and zip.. nadda .. zilch.. huh.. wtf .. i look at the display and would you believe, the batteries are dead. Seriously !?

Took the batteries out, put them on charge and walked over to the computer, i have to tell someone, this is like HUGE NEWS......

posted on facebook " Holy Shit, This is Insane !! " it's really all i could come up with.


Rest of the day was spent pondering my fate, my goals, plans, just an ocean of thoughts.. spoke to friends.. spread the word slowly.


Nov 28, 2012

Tuesday, first day of my new life .

Slept in, sandy woke me at 7:30am sharp to be fed, to her surprise i gave her breakfast and went back to bed, she came back after eating and licked my face , eww, morning dog breath, she jumped onto my bed and curled up in a ball at my feet.

Around 9am, my phone rang, mom calling me to find out what " holy shit .... " on facebook was all about.. was i ok ?

So i gave her the big news.

Got up, made a cup of coffee, loged on to endless sphere, have not publicly announced it on the forum yet, i will tomorrow.. most likely.

Head still spinning with ideas, thoughts, and feelings i canot describe well enough.. but let's just say i'm still in a state of disbelief, after going to the same job for 16 years, the concept of doing anything else is just ... nearly impossible to imagine....

Sure, i've had those really bad days where i swore i was going to walk out and quit, taken lots and lots of mental abuse over the years..... have also developed good relationships with customers who call in regularly, i could name a dozen that i can recognize by voice within 3 words ..

Over 16 years.. average 50 to 80 calls per day... let's see...that's roughly

52 week per year, x 16 = 832 weeks, x 5 days = 4160

so figure 4000 days ( vacations, etc.. ) , 50 to 80 calls per day = roughly 200,000 to 320,000 calls !

Could be more, could be less, but you get the idea... it's a whole lot of repetition, frustration, problems solved, some not..


Took sandy for an early walk to get some fresh air and a bit of exercise... it's getting cold.. winter is on the way..

( Funny sidenote, a " tansition company " had a rep present to help people in crisis mode when given such news, when asked what was on my mind at the moment, 5 minutes after being told i'm terminated, my reply was " This sure solves my winter commute problems ! " .. she looked at me with this funny look, pretty sure i'm the first person to react this way in her history, where most people likely break down into tears..)

Later on in the day i got the sad news that Marlo Nickerson, a long time friend, was in hospital and in critical condition....

What a week..


Nov 28, 2012

Day 2

The news is spreading fast, getting emails and phone calls from all over the place. . . . .

Spent most of today taking it easy, simple house chores, desperately needed cleaning and organizing has begun..

Time to get rid of a whole lot of parts i've built up over the years... going to start there, make some room, clear out old stuff and load up the bank account as much as possible before my severance runs out.. but above all.... take it easy....

Got some sad news today, Marlo Nickerson passed away, very sudden and short notice taken away by cancer, Marlo was one of those guys who always had a smile on his face.. You will be dearly missed my friend.. R.I.P..


Nov 29, 2012

Slept in until 11am !.. wow.. have not done that in a long time. On weekends I usually get out of bed by 9am, willingly, but always with an agenda or To-Do-List on my mind... not today.

One goal today, bring 2 rims to the post office, shipping bicycle rims is not an easy task, they are light but large, boxing them requires carefull consideration to prevent damage.. For this, I charged up the old trusty A2B Metro, used shipping tape to secure it to the rear rack, got dressed ( -8 celcius !! and windy ) .

When I got back home, got an email form someone who wants 3 more of these... wow.. I aquired a large number of these rims from Zero electric motocross in the US, in the early days of developement they used 20" rear wheels, and later moved up to larger diameter, i got word from someone on the power assist yahoo groups that they were being cleared out so i contacted Zero and after getting my first box of 10,I emailed them back and got all they had left.. way overkill for a bicycle, but just right for a heavy hub motor !


Nov 30, 2012

I had always assumed canada post was the least expensive option available, and never really took the time to price shop, to my amazing surprise, I discovered that FedEx is right in the ballpark ! and even a few cents cheaper !.. bonus is that they offer pickup service !

Being quite familiar with online shipping and electronic processing of packages, I registered and created my label online, and then realized.. hey.. I need a new printer !!.. my old dusty Lexmark was on it's last legs, sucking in 20 pages at a time and drying up ink cartridges... so off to future shop and discovered that printers have really changed with the times, wireless, easy install, networkable under 100$ for an HP laser


Nov 31, 2012. Friday..

Got up early, had an apointment with a work transition firm here in town, a service offered to me by my previous employer, to talk about pension, RRSP's and other financial related stuff that I know very little about. ... time to learn about " finances " .. dear god.. the horror..

There were 3 of us at the meeting, 2 others from another company, both senior employees at their previous positions, shown the door on a monday and sent walking... it was informative.

It was still early when I walked out, decided to treat myself to a fancy breakfast, by myself, went to Cora's, had a ham, egg and cheese panini with fruit. mmmm.


Dec 4, 2012

Today, made it official, signed the dotted line and gave in my letter....

Mixed feelings, mostly good one's, humans are creatures of habbit, just like dogs, we generally dont like change, we fear change, the unexpected..

I took the first job I could get when fresh out of college, in 1997, since bills had to get paid and I had nothing but a big debt... the intention was to take any job i could, so that I could get something to write on a resume that would be considered " experience " ..

Really did not know what I wanted to do with my life when I got done school, but knew that the internet was going to be " big " and computers were a stepping stone, so I took " network administration and integration " at Oulton's Business College, for those of you old enough to know this stuff, Pentium 75's and Windows 95 on 30 diskettes were the cutting edge.. only some of the pc's had CD-Rom drives !.

My entry point into " the company " was customer service, I one of those people you call at a 1 800 number who knew nothing, but droned on, day after day of horror and stress... until a few months later, moved up to " Tech Support " , a much less stressfull position but not without it's moments.

Did that " job " for the next 15 years of my life..

How strange it is to think that I will not be going back to that.. ever.


Dec 5, 2012

Ribs !..

Yeup, pork ribs, 2 huge racks... for 10$ at costco.. Damn you costco.. every time I walk in there, the thingS I buy.....

So I have these 2 massive pieces of pork, like making bread

( managed to make a loaf last month ! I have much respect for my grandmother, she's one strong woman to make 5 loaves a day !... )

( above, my first loaf, turned out ok, ate the entire thing in 1 day )

.. been wanting to learn how to cook ribs but never had " time " .. well.... guess what ! I do right now ! muahaha

It started with my neighbor who bragged that they made the best ribs on planet earth the previous week, it's been on my mind ever since... Checked youtube and posted on ES asking how I should go about this.

I settled on making 2 seperate ways, one rack went in the slow cooker with a bottle of Bull's Eye sauce, the 2nd rack was cut in 2, half with sauce wrapped in foil, the other with oinion soup powder and steak sauce, and in foil.

The Smell, oh.. my ... god... I let this cook for 8 hours and sandy had a drip on her lip all day.

Got a text from a friend who was having a corporate job meltdown, I had to reply with a mockery as i take in the excellent aroma of cooking ribs in the air. Insisted he come over and drown his sorrows in ribs. He showed up with a case of beer !. Bonus !

Watched " American Gangster " .. good movie !


Dec 6, 2012

Last week, while talking with a friend and filling him in on my being " Corporate Realigned " I suggested tagging along with him for a day, he's a refrigeration tech, a chance to see how he and other people work, give a helping hand if possible or wanted, but mainly to have a look at what else people do for a living, in person.

So my phone rings and " i'm on the way, be ready " .. I got ready and away we go.

Got to learn about Air Condition systems, compressors, evaporators, heat exchange, gas types..

All very interesting stuff, and very cold !

Oh, and did I mention " COLD " .. ?

I can only imagine how sick ( flu's, colds, etc ) i'd get, day in and out, cold, hot, cold, hot..

Goes to show how many jobs and people it takes to make the world turn, we take the packed shelves at the grocery store for granted, a very well orchestrated series of events have to happen for everything to show up, be moved, unpacked, displayed, purchased, carried out.. and to keep this process going every day.

Drivers, cashiers, clerks, butchers, repairmen, warehouse people, the list goes on...

Soon, i'm going to have to chose between getting or doing one or more of these things, instead of reporting to my old day job.

Crazy stuff !


Dec 7, 2012

Wake up call, delivery at 8am !!!

Dog barking, wake up from slumber, jump into some clothes and run for the door.. these delivery guys dont hang around long.. Hmm.. must be to keep up with their "stats" and not be late for their cut-off-times ( Having been on the receiving end, of a phone call, from someone who heard a "knock" and walked to the door to see a truck driving away ... yeah.. now I know how it feels on this side of the phone line )

Made it in time !..


Back to bed !


Dec 25, 2012

Christmas !..

Spent the eve with family, ate like a pig.. the usual holiday season felt different this year... a few weeks have passed and for the first time ever, i had the holidays as vacation, i always took my vacation weeks during summer so i can work on house projects and do some E-biking.. and always had to work during december. ..

Still not quite come to terms with this new reality, some of my friends change jobs every few years, in constant state of change, while i've just kept reporting for work year after year and those years go by FAST...

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