What the Dickens!

My life lately, Reader’s Digest Version:

1. Falling in love with the characters and writing of Charles Dickens

2. Mistakenly spending a night in the wrong part of town

3. Anticipating/dreading the start of graduate school

4. Putting off the move, yet again

5. Gearing up (mentally) to get back to my health and fitness goals

1. I started with downloading free e-book versions of Nicholas Nickleby (read!) and David Copperfield (almost finished). I can’t believe how engrossed I am with DC. I couldn’t believe it when he married Dora and overlooked Agnes, never mind was blind to Steerforth’s (lack of) character. I love his Aunt Betsey Trotwood, Pegotty, Mr. Dick, and the bombastic amusing spendthrift Micawber! I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Little Emily. And the evil Uriah Heep (so that’s where the band got the name!), and the venomous Miss Rosa Dartle. My goddess, what a book. I have since downloaded more of his writings though I have been told on good authority to forget about reading any novels once graduate school starts. See item 3, below. 🙁

2. This is what happens when you pull into a strange town, late at night, exhausted, and are unwilling to spend any more than you absolutely have to, to get a night’s rest. There were clues, certainly. But we didn’t pick up on them until it was too late. It seemed to be a reputable chain hotel – let’s call it the HoHo, instead of it’s real name, to protect the guilty, shall we? We had stayed at another HoHo in the town of the golf tournament that JD was playing in, and we had such a nice experience there over the previous 2 nights, that we thought we were in for more of the same in this town.

So, we pulled into the HoHo, just on the other end of the lovely main street – so full of very hip dining spots and trendy watering holes – just one street away from the beautiful waterfront. JD negotiates an excellent rate for us and we head to the second floor to find our room, using the outside landing to get there. I happen to notice that some of the rooms appear to be let out on a long-term basis – people are actually living in them, with their own belongings in there, instead or beside the standard hotel-issue furniture. Hmmm.

We enter our room and it’s…on a slant?! The floor is so slanted that a golf ball rolls quickly and inevitably from the back of the room to the front. Walking to the bathroom feels like walking uphill. Also, there is no phone. But we don’t care – it’s cheap, clean and we’re too tired from 2 days of a golf tournament followed by a long drive to this town, halfway home. JD shoves the phone book (that we do have, for some odd reason) and some towels under the mattress so we don’t feel quite like we’ll roll off of it towards the front of the room during the night and we head outside for a walk and a bite to eat.  Right next door to the HoHo is a Chinese buffet restaurant, so after our walk to the beautiful downtown and waterfront only a block away, we go there for our late supper. The restaurant is almost empty (it’s late, after all)…just us, one other couple and, at the next table, an obviously homeless man. Hmmm.

Bellies full, we head back to our tilted room and crash. JD doesn’t make it through 5 minutes of TV and I close up my e-reader soon after. Then, around 1 am JD wakes up because he hears a couple of people talking outside our room. I sleep the sleep of the righteous (or dead) right through the kerfuffle. The woman is upset because the hotel manager apparently has locked her out of her room. JD thinks she is talking about the room next door to us. Eventually they go away and JD falls asleep again. Hmmm.

Shortly after 8 am the woman and her friend come back and this time I wake up as well. I can hear her bawling at the hotel manager across the parking lot that he is a “creeper” and she is calling the police and he better effing let her get her stuff etc. etc. We still think she is talking about the room next door to us. The mirror in the room is angled just right to see her reflected through a slight opening in the drapes – a young woman with a short-cropped, almost shaved head, what little hair left is died multiple colours in squarish-looking blotches. She is wearing a checked flannel jacket and cargo pants and has many ear piercings, fully occupied with hoops and studs. Then she starts telling her companion that she can see her stuff and I realize she is looking through the same crack in the drapery at my bags, parked under the mirror!

“See”, she says to him, “I always leave the bottom window open and now I’m gonna bust through the screen and open the door and get my stuff.” Which she does, but we have the security latch on (thank heavens!) and she gets nowhere. I leap out of bed and run downhill to the window and stick my head through the drapes. “HEY!” I yell at the shocked and surprised woman. “Sorry!” she says, “I thought this was my room.” “WELL, IT’S NOT,” I say and shut the drapes. I stomp back to bed, not sure what to do now. JD gets dressed to go see the manager and I can hear her talking about how she has this really great lighter and it’s a peace offering and then this green Bic lighter flies through the broken screen into the room, and of course rolls slightly back towards the window. She leaves. I throw the lighter back onto the outside landing. Hmmm.

Meanwhile, JD has gone down to see the hotel manager, using the room’s OTHER door that accesses an interior stairwell, to get there. He comes back up shortly. “The manager’s locked himself in his office,” he says,”Because of the woman. I can’t get in.” We decide to get showered up and try again later. While I am getting dressed, a maid tries to bust into the room, without knocking, via the OTHER door (also held back by the security latch) and I yell “EXCUSE ME!” as I grab the blankets to cover myself. Hmmm.

Thoroughly ticked, JD goes back down to find out what the hell is going on around here (because of course, we have no phone in the room) and this time the manager lets him in, because Mizz Checker Head is nowhere to be seen. More negotiating happens, and JD returns with half of what we spent on the room, in cash. We go down to breakfast, which the manager has graciously (?) kept for us beyond the regular breakfast hours, once JD reminded him we couldn’t go down for breakfast earlier due to the aforementioned locked office door.

After breakfast we pack up and I return the key to the manager. I caught him in the act of brushing his teeth so I couldn’t really hear him distinctly but I’m pretty sure he hoped we would be back soon and stay at his HoHo again. Yeah. Like that is going to happen. We drive 500 yards to the McDonald’s on the same street to wash the unclean feeling of that room off of our hands and to grab a couple of hot teas for our drive home. Signs on the locked bathroom doors proclaim that we must ask staff to buzz us in. Hmmm.

We just leave town, quickly as possible. JD and I have stayed in a lot of cheap (as well as some quite luxurious) hotels during the course of our travels, but my friends, this experience in the wrong part of town takes the gold in memorable.  And not memorable in a good way.

3. I’m getting nervous about school. I’ve been hearing things from well-meaning people like “forget about reading any novels till you graduate” and “make sure your family is prepared to make sacrifices” (more like BE SACRIFICED on the altar of the MBA gods, I think) and this is a tad upsetting. Then I remember I’ve been through this before, when I did my B. Ed. degree part-time and I calm down…a little bit. It can’t be that much worse than then, can it?

4. JD and I have come to our senses and realize now that there is no way we can move soon, what with graduate school starting in a little over a week. We continue to work on prepping the house – the outside is looking quite nice with the painting I have been doing – but the move will now happen during the month we have off of school in December.

5. I feel soft and puffy. I haven’t been eating right – too much restaurant food and not enough clean eating. Not enough movement. I am going to start back to my regular gym routine again – starting over on the Couch -to-5K running plan, start over on the weight training. I am going back to tracking my food and exercise on MyFitnessPal. Just watch me.

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September Schedule Smackdown

Well, here it is – September 9 and I haven’t set any goals. And August was kinda abysmal with respect to reaching any of my goals, in case any of you had been following my calendar updates. And there are a few damn darn good reasons.

Reason #1 – not getting enough sleep. People, sleep is important. Like eating food-important. Like breathing oxygen-important. Like drinking water-important. Short yourself on sleep and soon you do nothing but live in a slow-motion world, your brain in a fog, your memory shot. Short yourself on sleep and it will sneak up on you when you least desire it. Like when you come into the office when it’s quiet so you can get stuff done, uninterrupted…only to find yourself nodding over your keyboard in very short order. Short yourself on sleep and you will develop an annoying and almost constant nervous twitch in your right eyelid. Short yourself on sleep and you will turn into an evil bitch not nice person. Short yourself on sleep and you will find vulgar words creeping into your vocabulary.

Not that any of these things have happened to me. Oh no. Just saying, is all. Stuff I’ve heard, you know…

Reason #2 – working like hell heck on the house exterior and yard, to try and give it curb-appeal, for eventual selling. For us, this means making up for X years of semi-neglect in a couple of weeks. Got the picture? Winter is coming (GAH!) and we are running out of time and good weather. Driveway repair and sealing, painting, and fixing the wreck of the backyard (AKA my failed experiment at a kitchen garden AKA the garden that only someone with a red blood cell count of 77 could create and maintain…in other words, Weed City). Note: My RBC has improved greatly since the great backyard experiment was attempted; alas, my garden has not.

So, I was thinking tracking and especially UPPING my sleep hours would be a great goal for this month. However, next week JD and I are flying to Vancouver for a work meeting for me, and due to his insane busy work schedule we are forced into taking late night flights so already it’s looking bad in the Catching Z’s department. And when we come back, we may be leaving again shortly for northern Ontario for yet another golf tournament, if JD gets the nod to play.

So, I think I will cut myself some slack this month. October may be the Sleep Goal Month. It’s also the Start of the MBA Month (my first Financial Post blog entry is supposed to be posted this weekend!).

And the saga of “Will We Ever Get Moved?” continues….

P.S. JD loved the 1st Anniversary Is Paper Themed Shadowbox. Score!!!

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Blogging the MBA

This arrived in my InBox today:


You’ve been invited to Financial Post | Business at http://financialpostbusiness.wordpress.com as a contributor.

If you don’t care, just ignore this email.  🙂



If I don’t care? Ignore this email?

Are. You.  Insane. WordPress?

I’ve been so excited to tell everyone about this opportunity but also so scared that something would go wrong and it wouldn’t happen. So I kept my yap shut. Till now.

What happened was this. The Director of Communications at Athabasca University, Chris McLeod, contacted me to see if I wanted to blog about my MBA experience for Financial Post, as they had contacted him for names. They want at least one student from each business school in Canada to blog their way through their MBAs, from start to finish.  Chris read my personal essay (submitted as part of admissions process) and liked my writing style. Said it “stood out”, to him. He also read a little introduction I wrote for my fellow classmates, in which I listed one of my hobbies as blogging.

So he called me. And I practically jumped through the phone to hug him, for considering me for this “gig”, so to speak (I won’t be paid – except in exposure, which is OK!).

I’m going to write my first post this weekend. And will let you know when it’s published and where to find it.  I believe the MBA student blogs will be found at  “Inside the MBA”.  Stay tuned!!!!!

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