Thursday, 21 February 2013

I'll Help You With Dinner..

"I'll help you with dinner," he said.

"I got it." I was making beef stir-fry, my favorite meal for about the last 10 years, and I had it down to a science, just the way I like it.  The rice was started, beef was cut and marinating, and I was slicing mushrooms, the first to go into the hot frying pan.

"No, I'll help." He's looking at the vegetables I have ready on the counter, the ones that get cooked less than the mushrooms.  "You want to use this onion? Is this too much green pepper? Which knife do I use? where's the cutting board? Where's a bowl for the scraps?" I answer each question, and watch him wander off to the living room coffee table to do his work in front of the TV and I sigh.  Quietly. 

I finish slicing the mushrooms, and start them frying in the hot oil.  I like them toasty browned in some spots, and the trick is the pan's gotta be hot, and you have to let them sit a bit, not stir them too much.  I am ready for the onions, but he's not done, now he's on the phone.  He is of course sanding in the doorway between kitchen and living room, blocking, stretching the phone cord.  This is one of the conversations about softball, it will be a long one.  I turn down the stove and make my way around him to grab the stuff, bring it all back to the kitchen (no point asking him, he's on the phone and won't hear me) and finish cutting the onions.  Meantime, he's stretching the phone cord to the stove, incessantly stirring the mushrooms.  Turning them to mush.  I try to get around him without getting upset, turn the heat back up and add the onions.  I finish cutting the green peppers and add them, and he's still stirring.  Absently.  Still talking on the phone, not paying any attention to me.  He thinks he's helping.  And of course, now I have an extra knife, cutting board, and two more bowls to wash, and he's trimmed about half the green pepper away, what a waste.  And turned most of the vegetables to mush.

Finally he wanders back to the doorway (his work is done, I guess).  I remove the veggies, let the pan heat up again and sear the beef slices, then throw the veggies back in at the last minute to mix it all together.  The rice is done, and he's still on the phone, so I dish out my own, leaving his plate on the counter, turn off the stove, and make my way past him again to my spot on the couch to eat. 

A couple weeks later, he offers to help me with supper again.  "Why don't you help me by bringing in the groceries, or starting the laundry? You know this kitchen isn't big enough for two people"

"No, I want to help you with dinner," he says.  Sure...  help...  Sigh.

This of course is not Owen.  Owen is a great cook, can make entire meals all by himself, and not just for the two of us, but for friends too.  He cooked the first beef heart I ever ate, and it was amazing.  He introduced me to perogies (they exist back east, but he taught me the trick is bacon and butter... and lots of cheese...), sushi, elk meat, he makes amazing omelets and wraps.  He likes sauces and dressings, he likes to try different stuff, sometimes we create stuff together, or he will ask what he can help me with.  Imagine that, asking.  This is a picture of HIS stir-fry, and it was delicious!

That other guy was a fucking dick, and I am so glad I am rid of him.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Truck

This is our truck, and she has saved us.  Well, she took us for a little swim in the North Thompson River, but she let us get out.

She's a 1991 F150, we got her for the price of the tires, and she needed some work.  Owen has spent a lot of time on her, and she's part of the family though she doesn't really have a name.  Owen says it's a "she" because she does what she wants.  The custom flat deck with drop sides is perfect for collecting firewood, and moving stuff.  Notice the custom steel front bumper? Donation from a friend's old truck, and possibly a key player in this little story.

We were coming home from Kamloops on the evening of November 13, and it was snowing in Blue River (as it always is).  Coming up to Bone Creek, it was turning to big flakes, you could tell it had been snowing a lot through the day, wet snow that was gathering at the edges, accumulating on top of the old hard-pack snow. We were in no hurry, so Owen pulled slightly off the road coming up to the pullout just before the Bone Creek road to let a transport truck pass us, and then tried to pull back into the lane.  But the slush had us.  Obviously more slush than we though, and even though we were only going about 10 kph by this time, it was not letting us stop, nor letting us back on the road.  I remember Owen saying "Oh shit baby, shit!" Right over the edge of the pullout, with no guard at the end.  So now we are still parallel with the road, and almost stopped, but at a steep sideways angle down the bank, and I was just thinking "I don't want to roll... I don't want to roll..." Owen cut the wheel hard to the right and pointed her at the river below us, and I remember wondering why I couldn't see anything out our windshield - it's because I was looking directly at the black water, with nothing between us.  I said "Are we going in the river?" just because I had to say something, and Owen said "Yep."  I had time to get my seat belt off and get my feet up on the dash (which felt like I was getting them under me, because the incline was so steep), trying to be ready for whatever was coming, whenever it was going to happen.  We landed, surprisingly softly, but it was clear we were in the water - no idea how deep, if we are going further, or going to get swept away - and Owen's words echoed my thoughts - "Get out!" Door handle, elbow, "I can't..." "Come this way!" Owen's door was open and he was standing in the door frame.  I saw the ice we'd broken through, and that Owen's door was open above it (my side sunk deeper, and the ice kept my door closed) and I leaped toward the bank - but not far enough.  Through the ice, and I was thinking I can swim, but not for long in this cold.  I grabbed again towards the bank, and said "Sand", felt it in my fingers (nearly the last thing my fingers felt for a while), and climbed to the edge and stood up, with only my shoulders still dry.  Thank God for wool sweaters.  I knew that we needed to get to the road, and hope someone stops to help - because they won't know to stop unless we make it up there.  Cell phones are somewhere in the truck, along with everything else, but there's no cell service here anyway.  It is storming, going to get colder, and I'm wet.  Owen climbed along the side of the truck, and I followed him on a bit of a zig-zag up the bank, testing the red willow saplings I was pulling on, hoping my grip was tight when I couldn't feel my hands any more.  Steepest bank I ever climbed, dark, snow-covered, and I am freezing.  There were two spots I wouldn't have made it up if Owen hadn't pulled me, they were too steep.  I'm glad we didn't bring the dog.  Owen made it to the road before me, and put out a hand to the vehicle passing.  I just saw the lights go by, and when I got up, I saw the brake lights, and wondered if they were coming back.  It took them a while to stop, and I am sure they were wondering what to do, and how to do it safely.  They turned around and came back, and we met them on the other side, and I was trying to open the rear door of the minivan, but it was locked.  They cautiously rolled down the passenger window, and clearly they were wondering what the hell one guy was doing on the road, but now wondering more where the hell I came from.  I just remember saying to them "Our truck is in the river, and I am wet, can I get in?" Then it made sense, and they were good people, guys working for CN, on their way to McBride for a tour, they made room and offered to drive us wherever we needed.  Owen at first said "Blue River", because it's closer, tow truck, etc, but I thought - I am wet, it is storming, they are going our way anyway, lets get home to Valemount (dry and warm) and deal with stuff after that.  Yes, everything is in the truck (wallets included), but if we loose it all now, we're still here tomorrow, and that is what's most important.  There is a picture in my head of looking down the bank we just climbed in total darkness, and the only light is the eerie pool where the headlights are shining into the river, the dome light shining out the driver side door, and the only sound is the beeping from the interlock device.  (That is another whole story... or a few stories really.)

Owen went with the tow truck the next morning, and when they pulled the truck up, our cell phones and my purse were still sitting on the bench seat.  We only lost one bag of our city-trip purchases, though the tow truck (complete with flagging, since they closed the road to do it) and the repairs to a water-logged engine cost us a lot.  Owen described the bank to me, how steep and long it was, the two spots just wide enough for foot holds (the two he pulled me up on to - I remember them).  That custom bumper broke through the ice at the edge of the river and sunk the front end into the soft sand below.  If we'd been in the car, we probably would have skipped and landed farther out in the river.  If we'd rolled, or if we'd hit a tree on the way down... well.  I think we both had some pretty strange dreams for a few days.  We had a lot of laughs over it with friends - you gotta laugh and not get bogged down thinking about what might have happened, because you might as well just curl up and die now if you stop doing stuff because of what might happen. 

About 3 weeks later, a couple from Clearwater, another small community south of us, went into the same river in their car. They and their unborn child died there.  I don't know why they died, when Owen and I survived, but I will not waste this life asking, or feeling guilty about it.  I didn't know Skye and Courtney Buck, but I will remember them and their baby.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Slacking Already

I am slacking already... but I've been on an adventure! I accompanied Owen to Golden, via the Icefields Parkway (which is quite interesting driving in the winter) so he could meet with a few people about a project he is working on.  Coincidentally, our local newspaper editor found out I am currently unemployed, and asked last weekend if I'd be interested in doing some reporting.  Yesterday, she asked if I'd report on a particular topic, which just happened to be the one that Owen is working on.  Stay tuned for that, because I am going to try to write it, and maybe post it here too.  Or maybe a link?  In the mean time, here is a picture from Golden.

I clearly need to practice, since there is a bunch of things I have been thinking of posting here, but I haven't taken the time to fully form the thoughts yet.  But I will, I promise.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Starting With a Picture

So I thought I'd start with a picture today.  That's me, barefoot on the beach with a beer in my hand.  If you recognize the label, you probably know I'm from Nova Scotia, and yes, Keith's is my beer (but not my only beer).  The other foot is my man, Owen.  He doesn't so much like Keith's, but he put up with it for the week we were home.  I mean my other home, the one in Nova Scotia.  My home now is in Valemount BC, and I moved here for one reason only - Owen.  We met online about three years ago, and I flew out here to meet him.  Then I flew home, quit my job, packed up my car and my dog and came back.  It's been interesting, strange, sometimes challenging, and the best thing I ever did, and I know we were meant to be together.  We finally had a chance to go back to Nova Scotia, and for Owen to briefly meet my family and friends last Thanksgiving, and I got to show him the beach that I love (although I didn't get to swim, October is a bit too chilly for that).  I miss that sand sometimes, but, strangely, we are nestled here in the mountains and surrounded by - sand.

I've always loved the idea of traveling around the world, seeing far off places, and I did actually live in Scotland for a year.  Imagine that, a Scottish girl going back to Scotland... but it's funny, once I got home, I realized that there was still so much of THIS country I hadn't even begun to see or understand.  Yes, I'd already driven from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back, but there is so much in between that I missed, and you really have to spend more than a few days in a place to get to know it.  Seeing the different seasons, getting to know the locals and the stories, learning how the politics (that dreadful word) of a place affect the people and vice-versa.   BC is so different from Nova Scotia in so many ways, but we're still part of this one amazing country, and I feel pretty lucky.  I said I moved here for one reason only, but it's part of our luck and our blessing that Owen is from here, and had moved back here.  We were able to meet each other when the time was right, and not a moment before. 

By the way, I don't believe in happily-ever-afters, life is always changing, there's always new challenges and new joys to be found.  Owen and I compliment each other, and we enjoy each other, but most importantly, we both recognize that we sometimes just have to figure stuff out.  I am currently unemployed (no surprise, if I have time to be writing a blog, eh?) and I have tons of bills from my two houses in NS (yep, I said two houses - and that's another story entirely).  Owen does a lot of different things (you have to, if you want to live in Valemount) and he's currently working on a business case that involves Kinbasket "Lake" (mentioned in yesterday's picture).  You'll probably hear more of that if I keep at this.  I actually might get to go to Golden with him next week, which is why we spent his lunch hour replacing the front brakes on our car in the driveway (something that is technically against the rules of the trailer park... but it's not the first transgression... maybe more on that later too).  Anyway, that's enough for today, and here's a shot of us in the Northumberland Strait, October 2012.  Maybe I'll be talking to you tomorrow...

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Two Problems

I have always wanted to be a writer, but I have two problems.  First, I don't think there is anything I can say that hasn't been said already.  I suppose there are arguments against that, and clearly, people don't stop talking or writing books or making movies just because it's already been done.  Maybe that is an eternal struggle, one that you just have to choose to deal with.  Anyway, that is not the biggest problem I have.  The second problem is that I don't have the patience.  I think that is what it is... I often tell myself I don't have the time (which means I don't make the time), I don't have the... tenacity? Maybe I can't keep at something for very long.  I heard once that "multitasking" can actually reduce our ability to concentrate, and I sometimes think that is definitely one of my problems.  OK, digression is another.  I don't have the patience/concentration/time/dedication to write.  Well, that, and I don't know of anything that I know enough about to tell other people about.  I guess that one ties in with the "nothing new I can say" problem.

So I thought the other day that maybe I should try writing a blog.  Actually, I've thought of it before, but the whole idea that I have nothing to write about (first problem) quashed my thoughts, and I let my second problem stop me.  But what was new the other day is that I recognized this in itself might be something to write about.  And if I at least try, see if I can write a bit each day, then I'll see if I really do have some patience and concentration.  So here it goes...

That's it for today. What, did you think you were going to get more? Come on, it's my first try, my first  day, I don't want to push it.  But I'll be back tomorrow.  Or at least I plan to be.  Maybe I can tell you about our own little "Trailer Park Boys" life, or our plans for gardening, or some philosophical shit I've been thinking about (there's a lot of that crap rattling around in my head).  You'll just have to wait until tomorrow.  And maybe I'll figure out how to upload some photos...OK, I'll tell you what the photo is... Kinbasket Reservoir with no water in it, at least as far up as the marina.  This is looking south, towards the piers that used to be part of a mill site.