Day Six Hundred and Eighty Nine of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

One More Day

This is my last full day in Winnipeg. I will be flying home tomorrow in the late afternoon. I have a lot to do today. I got up early and tried to do some cleaning and sorting before my Dad woke up.

I took everything out of his freezer and cleaned it. It was covered in some kind of liquid, either blueberry or beets. I told my Dad to just double bag it next time! It’s such a hassle to clean it off when it leaks like that.

Boston Marathon Today

I was watching some of the Boston Marathon. I had tried to follow their training guide at some point. My marathon training leader is running this year and I hoped that he would have a good race. Of course, I am also more keen this year because of what had happened last year.

I decided to take a rest day from running so I rationalized that I was mentally running while watching the marathon. They didn’t have live coverage on TV and the live feed was not available in Canada so I was constantly refreshing my twitter feed so that I could find out how my favorites were doing. I was glued to my computer until Rita and Meb won! I was going crazy even though I was alone.

Met Up with Old Friend

I drove over to meet up with an old friend for lunch. He has been in Mexico and just arrived home last night. He and I have known each other for almost forty years. We have managed to stay in touch over the years.

The last firm that I worked for was one that he used to be legal counsel for. He knew some of the people I used to work for. He was aware that I had lost my job but he knew that despite it being six hundred and eighty-nine days ago, it is still a sore subject to me.

I told him about my ideas for what I will do next and he was supportive and encouraging to me so that’s good. I know that most of my friends are supportive but some more than others. He’s known me for such a long time so he has an idea of what has worked for me and what has not.

Met Up with Old Co-Worker

I met up with my old co-worker after. She and I used to work at a department store over thirty-five years ago when I was in high school and university. We have kept in touch all those years.

Although I received a Xmas card, I did not get the usual newsy family letter that she usually sends out every year. I had emailed her a few times to let her know that I was coming home and didn’t get a response. I couldn’t figure out why she hadn’t answered me. I found out that she has arthritis and has a difficult time doing any writing or going on the computer.

I went to visit her and her husband at their home. They are my Dad’s age and it was a little disconcerting to see how they have grown older. I did see her three years ago but didn’t really notice how she has aged until today. I’m glad that I made the effort to come see them today.

Met Up with Old University Friend

I had to drive across town to see my other old university friend. I hadn’t seen him in over twenty years. I’m not sure why we lost touch but we did after I left to work overseas. I knew via google that he is a tax partner at the same firm as my old boyfriend so I decided to email him last week.

It was nice to see him and in some ways it didn’t seem like twenty years had passed. We were both talking fast, trying to catch up as soon as possible. He told me that he and his wife will be coming to Vancouver in July so I’m sure that we will meet up again then. It was really nice to re-connect after so long.

Last Evening with my Dad

Tonight was my last night with my Dad. We opted to stay in and he cooked. I continued to sort through boxes of papers. A lot of them were from thirty years ago, when I was taking city planning and commerce courses. I thought that it was sad that as I scanned through all the accounting notes and texts, I don’t remember anything. If I were to have to write an accounting or finance exam today, I would fail miserably.

I did find an old resume which was interesting. It listed government research jobs that I had that I had long forgotten. I remember that year, it was a really tough time for new grads to get any jobs. I guess it’s come full circle again.

Day Six Hundred and Eighty Eight of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Retail Blog Work

I got up fairly early this morning. I decided to do some work on my retail blog. I have enough posts done until after the marathon but I decided that I should try to do as many as I can while I am here with a computer that works.

I have finished all of my photo editing which is good. I wish that I had the same photo editing program that my Dad has on his computer because it is so simple to use. It’s so much faster to edit compared to using my spare laptop, which was so slow.

I managed to do two more posts this morning. I will have another two more posts to finish in the next two days before I leave. Then, I will have enough so I won’t have to worry for a while. It’ll be a bit of a relief to get home and not have to deal with anything like that.

Longer Run Despite Taper Plan

It was a nice sunny morning and it looked like the temperature would be above zero. I usually do a long run on Sunday but I knew that at this point, two weeks before the marathon, I really should be tapering off. I missed last Sunday’s long run because it was too cold and windy so I’m not feeling so confident.

I decided to try a route that somebody from the local Running Room had recommended. I had tried to attempt it once but it was really, really cold, especially with two high snow banks on each side of the path.

Today was warmer and although there was a bit of a wind, it was better than what it has been. The trail was quite busy, too because of the nicer weather. I encountered quite a few people and each time I did, I would flash them a big smile or give them a wave.

Every time I saw another runner, I would wave and then try to run faster. My pace was fairly good. It was five miles each way. I didn’t bring any water with me and decided to get some fresh clean snow (digging into a hill of snow) and eat it until it melted. Sounds stupid but it did work. It was like having a non-flavored snow cone. I’m so used to having places for water when I run in Vancouver.

I reached the end which is where the highway is. I had a short walk break and then turned around to go home. By the time I got home, I had run around 17 miles or so, so I was satisfied. It wasn’t overly long but not too short either.

More De-Cluttering

When I got home, I was tired but I knew that I had to do some more de-cluttering. My brother had brought over boxes of photos that I had wanted to go through. Unfortunately, he brought boxes that had been my Mom’s photos. That was difficult to go through her photos, she had passed away over fifteen years ago.

There were just a few of my photos mixed in. I was able to set those aside. The other photos were more difficult to deal with. I have always been an avid photographer and have a lot of trouble throwing out any photo even though I have no idea who the people are who are in the photo. Still, I know that I have to because I know that nobody else in my family will go through it.

I managed to help my Dad pack up some of his pantry. At one point, he thought that I had packed all of his coffee (I don’t put much value into coffee since I don’t drink it) but he has cans of it downstairs. I was able to set aside a few boxes of food today, so that’s good.

Easter Sunday Dinner with Family

We went to my Uncle’s for Easter Dinner. Well, we had a prime rib roast since we had turkey and ham yesterday. We don’t really celebrate it but It was a nice treat to get together and have a feast. Like yesterday, at my cousin’s house, the doors were open. It’s still cold and I don’t know why they think it’s warm enough to keep them open? I was a little relieved to go home, because I’ve been cold all evening. I’ll be glad to go home to Vancouver for more warmth in two days.

Day Six Hundred and Eighty Seven of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

More Cleaning and Decluttering

This morning was overcast. They even predicted rain but I didn’t think it would. I continued heavy cleaning in my Dad’s kitchen. There was a large box of containers under his kitchen table. I had managed to convince him to throw out most of them.

Only a few days remain on my trip. I wanted to try to help him get rid of as many things before he tried to sell his house and move in with my brother but he has been resistant. I figured that containers wouldn’t be too difficult to get rid of. We’re talking empty glass jars, plastic containers and drink containers. Today he was a little more realistic about what he can keep.

I took out a large garbage full of these containers and put them in his recycling can before he could change his mind. Actually, he was the one who urged me to discard them right away because he knew that if they were still in the house, he might relent and rescue some of them. Out of sight, out of mind.

Childhood Memories

My Dad told me to go downstairs and go through some of my boxes that I had left here decades ago. He said that I had a bunch of papers from my university days that he wanted me to get rid of. I thought that I had emptied his house of my stuff years ago.

He had been wrong about the box of school papers. They were actually my Mom’s, who had passed away quite a few years ago. I wasn’t aware that they were here. I set them aside to go through them. That might be harder for me to do than to go through my old papers.

I did see two boxes of records. I was surprised to see them because I thought that I had gotten rid of them years ago. As I flipped through them, I smiled, remembering how I had played them over and over again. Although I no longer have a record player, there has been a bit of a resurgence of vinyl in Vancouver. I will go through them and see if there are any that I want to take back with me.

Another Tempo Run

Despite the dreary weather, I decided to go for a tempo run to Costco. I had to go pick up some reprints that I had ordered. I will see some of my family tonight so I wanted to give them photos that I had taken at our get together a couple of days ago.

This was the first time that I did not have to wear sunglasses during my run. It was milder today so there so many puddles that I had to jump over. The mud was unavoidable, too. It even rained a few drops at one point. I felt slow and sluggish today. Not because I was out of shape but more because there was a strong wind that was holding me back. I had to hold on to my cap sometimes, too, because of the strong gusts.

Costco was an absolute zoo today because it had been closed yesterday and will be closed tomorrow. They did a bad job reprinting some of my prints so I had to wait 20 minutes while they re-did them. I went in search of samples, trying to kill time before they were ready.

By the time I finished, the wind was not so strong. I managed to run at a slightly faster pace going home but I had to still jump over the puddles. My nice new running shoes have definitely been getting a good work out. I have had to wash them almost everyday when I’ve gotten home.

Family Easter Dinner

We went for a family easter dinner. I hadn’t been to one in a while. When I am home in Vancouver, I tend to do nothing so it was a little odd to be with my family this year. Although it is nice to be with family and friends this year, I have been eating far too much. There has been far too much temptation for me during this trip. I can hardly wait to return home when I can avoid all of this excess.

Retail Blog

I have managed to work on my retail blog steadily the past few days. I have managed to schedule posts to after the marathon. My Dad’s old computer has a good photo editing program so I have been able to edit almost all of my photos that I still had on my memory stick. I know that I might not have the photo editing program on my computer, so I might as well try to do as much here. I’m glad that I have been able to do some blog work during this trip.

Day Six Hundred and Eighty Six of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Family Get Together Last Night

I was a little tired from last night. My cousin had organized a family get together. I haven’t seen most of these people in over three years. Although it is nice to see them, it tends to get a little too noisy for me with all the kids.

It was a potluck and there were a lot of interesting things. My cousin brought a big plate of quinoa spinach balls which predictably, nobody ate so he gave them to me! After eating so much junk lately, I was happy to see something clean like that!

Laptop Fixed

My brother brought my laptop to me. The good news is that he managed to fix it. But the bad news is that I don’t have what was on my laptop and he’s not sure if the recovery program that he has can get everything or anything back. He said that the laptop is living on borrowed time and that I can expect it to break down at any time.

He’s still working on my spare laptop that he had given to me a couple of years ago. He is trying to figure out how to save my files on that computer. I hope that he’ll have an answer by the time I leave the next week.

Good Friday Holiday

Today is Good Friday. In Vancouver, most everything is open. It is a public holiday so government offices, banks, schools and most people have a holiday. But most everything else is open. Here in Winnipeg, most everything is closed on not just Good Friday but Easter Sunday as well. Some places take off Easter Monday as well and make it a three-day weekend off.

I wanted to spend time with my family today so I looked for a restaurant that would be open. There was a Chinese buffet that I thought might be open but when I had checked online and called, there was no answer. I finally ran over there yesterday and asked them if they would be open. They said that they would be open both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I was glad to hear that.

Kitchen Clean Up

I had some time to continue with my kitchen clean up. Today I was tackling the stove and oven. It was a mess. There was old grease stains from long ago. I needed more than a little elbow grease to get that grease off. I had to soak the burner plates, too.

I tried to persuade my Dad to give up some of his vast kitchen wares. Aside from a few dishes, he was not willing to get rid of anything yet. Although I was nagging him about getting rid of things, I was feeling guilty about my huge stock pile at home. In my mind I’m already thinking about throwing things out from my kitchen when I get home.

Ran to Restaurant

I decided to run to and from the restaurant so that I could get my running in today. It was a little warmer than yesterday but overcast. I think this is one of the first days in Winnipeg that was not bright and sunny. I decided to only wear five layers instead of yesterday’s six.

The streets were fairly deserted. It was quite a bit different from the daily traffic I see. It was warmer so when I ran, I could definitely feel sweat as opposed to other times when it was too cold for me to feel anything. This was another tempo run mainly because it’s too far to do hill training and I don’t have enough time to do a long run today.

Better Diet at the Buffet

My family was at the restaurant by the time I arrived. The restaurant parking lot was fairly full. This was one of the few restaurants aside from fast food that was open. Last week, when we came here, I totally pigged out. I allowed myself to eat absolutely anything that I wanted to.

Today though, I’m starting to feel the effects of reckless eating. I actually made an effort to eat better. I know that once I return home next week, I’ll get back on track and eat better. I have better discipline at home. I’ll only have two weeks before the marathon so I don’t want to run it fueled on junk.

Ran Home

Although I was full, I decided to pass up a ride home and run back. I considered going further to the hill area but then changed my mind. The wind was really strong going home. I almost regretted sending my Dad home without me.

A couple of blocks away from the strip mall where the restaurant is, I saw an employee ID photo card. I decided to run back to the mall and see if there was any place I could leave it. I finally managed to slip it under the door of the store which was closed today. I also wasted some time when a group of scavenging students asked me to take a photo of them.

It took me longer to get home because the wind was so strong. When I did finally get home, I did feel like I had done a good work out. I was all sweaty so I felt proud of my running today. Not too many more runs before the marathon!



Day Six Hundred and Eighty Five of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Another Sunny Day

It was minus 15 over night last night. It looks like the temperature will not improve until the weekend. When I saw that it was another sunny day today, I was glad but figured that it would be too cold to want to run. I checked the temperature and it had warmed up.

Since today would be a busy day, I decided to do a short run in the morning. I put on an extra layer and hoped for the best. So far during this trip, I’ve always run in the afternoon because that’s when it was the highest temperature.

On the way out, I spotted a fellow runner. I stopped her and had a chat with her. I asked her how she managed to get motivated to run here in Winnipeg, especially when it was so cold all winter. Like others I have talked with, she said that it was simply a matter of getting accustomed to it and not having a choice if she wanted to run.

She said that a few weeks ago, there was a half marathon, the Hypothermic Half Marathon and she said that despite its minus 28 degree weather, people thrived in this race. When I looked up this race, I saw that they have these all across Canada! So there are lots of runners who willingly pay to run in really cold weather! I feel like such a wuss.

With the extra layer, I was extra toasty and felt comfortable enough to try running at a faster pace. I figure that since I haven’t been able to work on my distance, at the very least, I should work on my speed work. I felt pretty good once I got home. I was pretty drenched this time so that was a good sign, too.

Another Reunion Planned

I don’t know why but I decided to try to contact another friend from years ago. He actually works in the same office as my ex-boyfriend. Unlike my ex, this friend replied right away and seemed enthusiastic to meet up with me. We are going to meet next week.

I have tried to get a hold of other people I had wanted to meet up but have not been able to get a hold of them. I suspect that some people have gotten rid of their landlines and now only have cell phones. I feel sad that I won’t be able to see them this trip.

More Cleaning

Yesterday, I had done a lot more cleaning, this time spending over an hour vacuuming the living room. Today, I was trying to encourage my Dad to get rid of things. I opened up a dining room cabinet and asked him if there was anything in there that I could set aside in the ‘donate’ closet that I had set up. He was good for a few things but then was stubborn about keeping a few things as a ‘spare’ or ‘back up’ for things he uses, like a thermos.

I sighed because I won’t be here for much longer. Once I am gone, I won’t be much help to him, thousands of miles away. I know that it’s unlikely that he will get motivated to get rid of things and take them over to the local thrift store.

I’m frustrated because I had hoped to really help him de-clutter his house enough for it to be presentable for a house showing. But at this stage, it’s only marginally better than when I came here last week. But as a fellow hoarder, I know that nobody can force you to get rid of anything if you’re not ready. All I can do is clean around as much as I can.

Visit to Dad’s Best Friend at Senior’s Home

We went to visit my Dad’s best friend who has been placed in a Senior’s home. His health had been deteriorating the past couple of years since his wife passed away. His dementia has gotten to the point where he could no longer live at home by himself. He would forget to eat and drink or take his medications and get dangerously dehydrated.

After he was hospitalized, they had to put him in a home that was quite grim. It was dangerous in that some of the residents were violent and had assaulted other residents. He really hated it there and never wanted to leave his room.

His family was finally able to get him into a nice facility. We went there today for the first time. It was a very pleasant place and the staff seemed quite friendly and patient. I hadn’t seen him in over 3 years and it was apparent that he had no idea who I was. It took him a while, but he did finally recognize my Dad, his best friend, so that was good.

Dementia is such a cruel disease. Although in some ways, he was able to hold a conversation and remember things, in other ways, like how to get back to his room, I could hear the panic in his voice even though we assured him we would return him.

He suggested that my Dad should look into moving into this place. My Dad is not ready for this kind of care yet but we still inquired at the reception desk. I was curious myself since I am still wondering about starting an elder care website back home. I’m still researching that possibility.



Day Six Hundred and Eighty Four of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Reunion with Old Boyfriend

Recently, I decided to email my old boyfriend from thirty years ago. We haven’t talked in over twenty years. I don’t know why but I had been thinking about how his life had turned out. He doesn’t have much of an online presence save for a work photo and professional bio.

I had emailed him a week ago, when I had first arrived. He replied that he was available this week, so we agreed to meet this afternoon. I had been anxious about how it would go and whether it would turn out to be a good idea after all.

Unfortunately, it did not turn out well. It was a bit awkward. I got the feeling that he felt nervous as well. I guess I had overestimated about how close we had been during the five years we had been together and that it would even have mattered so many years later.

I felt like I was almost like an interviewer. I asked him about his family and work. I thought that it was odd that he hardly asked me any questions about my life. I guess I was hurt because I thought that he would at least be a little curious about my life over the years. Oh well.

Consider a Move

I was looking at some job listings for Winnipeg. Over the years, I have wondered if I could move back home. The jobs pay around the same rate as Vancouver but the cost of living is drastically lower.

If I were to sell my home, I could easily buy a full house with the equity and not even need a mortgage. I would have lots of room. I might even try to cultivate my Mom’s green thumb! That’s always been the Winnipeg dream, buy a home. In Vancouver, it’s not such a reality with the high housing costs.

I would be closer to my family. As my Dad gets older, I wonder if he will need more assistance and whether or not I’d be able to do much being out on the West coast. I had continued moving back to Winnipeg a few years ago, when my Grandmother was getting older. But I didn’t do it then. I don’t think that I could do it now.

I did look at some job listings though. Although I’d have the local education on my resume, all of my experience would be either international or from BC. I wonder if that would make a difference in getting a job here or not.

With this extreme weather, I do know that I would never likely move back here. I am too much of a West Coaster now. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve lived longer in BC than I did here in Manitoba. BC is pretty much home now.

Short Tempo Run

I was still feeling a little anxious after the reunion with my old boyfriend today. I decided that it wasn’t too cold to do a short tempo run. Although it was marginally warmer than it was yesterday, it was still cold and windy. One direction was easier than the other. My face is getting wind burned from the last week of running here.

As I thought about my frustrations over this reunion, I tried to run faster. I still had to be careful because there was still a lot of ice and puddles on the sidewalk. I wanted to try to work out my anxiety.

The one thing that I had been surprised about my old boyfriend was that he has let himself go. He and I used to be a really active couple together. If there was anybody that I would guess who would keep in shape into his 50s, it was him. But he does nothing in the winter and only plays golf in the summer. I have to admit that I lost some respect for him over that.

As I finished my run, I was starting to feel a little better. I guess I really shouldn’t delve into ancient history. I really should just focus on my future, which definitely includes finding a fulfilling career.


Day Six Hundred and Eighty Three of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Another Sunny Cold Day

It was yet another sunny cold day this morning. Last night went down to minus 15 C and was close to breaking the decades old record. Although I’m loving this constant sun everyday, the cold weather is really getting me down.

Visit to the Cemetery

I went to visit some family graves at the cemetery today. I hadn’t been there in three years. Now that I am older, it is startling to think of how so many of my family members are now gone. I used to think of myself as so young, but now I am considered one of the older members of my family. My Dad, at 80, is the oldest.

It was probably not the best day to go for a visit. The biting cold and wind prevented us from spending but just a brief time there. The family graves are spread out, too. I couldn’t remember exactly where everybody was so I was running all over trying to find the graves. Unfortunately, one of my Aunt’s grave was completely covered in snow and ice. Who would think that this would be the case in April?

Big Spender

The four of us went for lunch. I had suggested one restaurant but for some reason, the other two wanted to go to Costco. I decided to treat everybody since this is one place where I know I can afford. They let me because they know that I’m not working and that it’s better for me to treat here than some where I can’t really afford.

I ordered chicken fingers and french fries for me to share with my Dad, the hotdog special and fries and gravy for my Uncle and then a smoked meat sandwich for my brother. My Uncle got a drink with his special. I was too cheap to spring for a drink for my brother and Dad so I ordered another hotdog special, which came with the drink and made them share the drink. Yes, I admit that I was overly stingy with this move, but even when I have a lot of money, I have a difficult time spending it on a drink when free water will do.

Another Cold Run

I decided to go for a run even though I wasn’t really feeling motivated in this cold weather. I missed running yesterday so I can’t afford to skip runs at this point 3 weeks before the marathon. Although it was cold, it wasn’t as cold as yesterday.

I started out a little late, after 4 PM but it’s okay because sunset isn’t until after 8 PM nowadays. I knew that I probably wouldn’t be running more than three hours and I would be home before dark. And the street I would be running on would be well-lit in case I did decide to run longer.

I wore five layers and wondered if it would be enough. When I was shopping today, I noticed a pair of compression socks. Some of my fellow runners wear them but I never thought of trying them because I’ve never had any calf problems like they do. However, these socks were on sale so I couldn’t resist trying them with my run today.

Visit to the Running Room

Half way into my run, I decided to stop in at the local Running Room to get some water. It’s a little difficult to figure out how much water I really need because it’s so cold and I don’t feel sweaty at all. Still, I knew that I did need water and I decided not to bring any with me.

I have always been grateful for the Running Room because they always have water so I can get good cold water in the middle of a run when I’ve run out or a public water fountain is turned off. I also had a nice chat with the employee there. I asked them how people can run in such extreme cold conditions (it’s even worse in the dead of winter at minus 50 C with the windchill) and stay motivated? He said that when you start out in the fall, you get acclimatized to it. Still, I find that hard to believe.

He said that he, himself is a destination runner. So he said that he enjoys entering races all over Florida. He goes from the extreme freezing cold in Winnipeg to the very hot in Florida! I don’t know if I could do that. I think that I’d prefer running in moderate weather.

Overall Good Run

I managed to do around 15 miles today, including hill training. My Achilles tendon was still hurting a little. My pace going was fairly fast and I was attributing it to my new compression socks! But when I turned around to return back, I realized that it was only because of a wind assist. I was running against the wind on the way back, so I was slower.

Today was the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. I thought of that a lot during my run. I have a ‘Boston Strong’ cap and I wish that I had brought it with me so I could have worn it today. I can’t believe that it’s been a year already.