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.


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

Another Sunny Morning

I woke to another beautiful morning. The only bad thing is that the temperature is in the minus again. It was minus 9 in the morning and was forecasted to be even colder later on. I still can’t believe that it’s this cold in mid April. I would have never expected it to be this cold at this time of year.

More De-Cluttering and Cleaning

I continued on with my cleaning of my Dad’s house today. I moved to the basement and did a little heavy-duty vacuuming. I was at it for more than an hour. I didn’t even get a chance to go into my Dad’s work rooms. He has enough tools to open a store.

He told me that there is one box with my name on it. He said that there are papers from my university days. I don’t remember that at all. I’ll have to take time and go through it before I leave. I hope that it’s nothing important so that I can discard it all and not have to worry about taking anything back with me.

Running Errands

My Dad and I went to run a few errands in the afternoon. I had to pick up some things to take back to Vancouver. Because of the easter holidays coming up, I wanted to get things done sooner rather than later.

Unlike Vancouver, a lot of places are closed in Winnipeg on the Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In Vancouver, you can see a lot of places open on those days, even Christmas. I guess Vancouver is less religious than Winnipeg.

My Dad was filling his gas tank while I shopped. I ran across to get to his car and it was so windy that I just knew that I wouldn’t be running today. I saw one lone runner and I felt like running after them and asking them how they manage to run in cold weather like today.

I know that today isn’t even the coldest day. In the dead of winter, it gets far colder here. What in the world motivates these runners to run in weather like this? I’m sure that there are winter treadmill runners. Maybe it’s like when people see me in Vancouver running in practically torrential downfalls. In any case, there will be no running today.

Dinner with my Brother and Cousin

I met with my cousin and brother for dinner. I don’t know why but they chose a restaurant that is quite a long distance away. They also insisted that we eat at 5 PM which I thought was too early. So I drove there, a little apprehensive because I wasn’t really familiar with the way. I got there shortly before 5 and neither were there. Both were over fifteen minutes late! I was not amused.

I hadn’t seen my cousin in quite a while. I always send him a yearly greeting card and always send him photos though. He has been retired for quite a while even though he is not that old. He is 65 years old and yet he has been retired for over 12 years. He worked for the telephone company for almost 33 years, one of those one-company workers.

That means that he retired at not too older than what I am now! I am so envious of that. My Dad also worked for one company for a long time and was able to get a golden handshake package. They both worked very hard for a long time and were rewarded with a good pension.

I sometimes regret the way that my career has gone. If I had done what they had, I’d be able to consider early retirement, too. Instead I went from job to job, never staying for more than five years. I don’t think that my generation is too unusual in that way. You rarely ever hear of people who have had one employer/job their whole lives.

Optimistic About my Laptop

My IT wizard brother has had my two laptops for a few days now and seems to think that I should be able to have both of them operational again. He managed to get my regular laptop working and is optimistic about recovering most of my files. That made me very happy. The last thing that I need right now is to have to buy a new computer.

The data recovery program that he is running takes a long time. I hope that he will manage to recover all of it but I’ll be happy even if I get some of it back. Hell, I would have been happy to get a completely wiped laptop that was still working even.

My spare laptop is also likely to be fixed as well. His friend is more of a mac specialist so he is getting him to look at it. I was just getting used to using a mac but would prefer to go back to my windows laptop. I’m crossing my fingers for that one, too.

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

Early Sunny Morning

I got up early this morning to a beautiful sunny day. However, it was still quite cold. When I walked to the parked car, the puddles were ice. When I was a kid, I used to love stepping on these and breaking through to the water. Today, I just shook my head, wondering why I was seeing these in mid April.

I had to wait a few minutes to let the car warm up. The windshield was a little dirty so I turned on the windshield wipers which did not work. I looked closer and saw that they were frozen to the windshield! I had to jump out of the car and break off the ice before they damaged the wipers.

Free Lululemon Yoga Class

I drove across town to the only Lululemon store in the city. They offer free Sunday morning yoga classes as they do in Vancouver. Today is the last free yoga class in Vancouver and I was sorry that I would not be able to attend since I am here. Whenever I travel, I try to catch a free class at the local Lululemon.

Unlike the very popular free yoga classes in Vancouver, this one only had around twelve people at this class. I was also a little surprised that most of the people in this class were older, at least my age or older even. The ones in Vancouver tend to be younger people with only a few older people.

The yoga instructor was not able to come so one of the store’s key leaders lead the class. She did a great job and if she hadn’t mentioned that she wasn’t a yoga instructor, I would not have even known it. I was glad that I got to do at least one yoga class during my trip. Next week is Easter Sunday so the store will be closed.

I chatted with some of the people and discovered that they really embraced these free yoga classes. In the summer, they even have yoga in the park. I mentioned that they were cancelling the free yoga classes at most of the Lululemons in Vancouver and they vowed that they would always support them and make sure that they continue. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Vancouver.

As I have said, I can’t say that I blame Lululemon for wanting to cash in on yoga classes. I have to look at it as being lucky that I was able to get several years of free yoga. I guess I just took it for granted that I would be able to continue.

In my financial situation, it’s not likely that I will be able to continue my yoga practice unless it is free or really, really cheap. Even the cheapest classes that we could find are at least $10 to $12 each. It has made me quite sad and anxious with the thought of losing these free classes. Yoga has helped me deal with all of my anxiety.

Long Run Attempt

Although it is a sunny day today, I knew that it would be very cold. I usually do my long run on Sundays. If I were at home, I would be doing the last long run before tapering off for the marathon next month. My marathon training class group was going to do their last 32 K run today.

I tried to pick the time that I thought would be the warmest point of the day. It was sunny, yes, but it was cold and windy. I put on five layers and looked like the Michelin tire man. I had micro fibre tights under my running tights. I couldn’t wear more than one pair of socks though, or my running shoes would be too tight.

I thought I might be able to do 32 K but it got too cold. I decided to head for the hills area, a local bridge. It wasn’t much of an incline compared to what I run in Vancouver on a regular basis but it was better than totally flat. I ran back and forth on the bridge and got a bit of a hills work out. There was an actual hill beside it which was steeper but it had a bunch of snow on it so I knew I’d probably wipe out.

In the end I only did around 16 miles or so. I would have liked to do another hour’s worth of running but it was just too windy. I wish that I had a balaclava or a scarf. It got so bad at one point that I ducked into a thrift store and considered buying something to wear home, but I didn’t.

I figure that if it warms up a bit, or if the wind goes down, I can attempt a long run. I’m a little paranoid about getting one in while I am here. By the time I get back to Vancouver, it’ll only be 12 days before the marathon so it’s probably a little too close to do a long run. At that point, I’ll be tapering I would think. But maybe I’ll risk it and do a long run once I get back if I’m not satisfied with the training here.

Day Six Hundred and Eighty of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Weather Forecast was Snow

So the weather forecaster had said that there would be snow this weekend but I didn’t want to believe it. I mean after all, it’s already the second week of April! I thought that we’d be safe when I woke up and didn’t see any snow. But in the afternoon, it did start to snow. At first there were normal flakes and then soon, there were clusters of snow falling.

My Dad predicted that the snow would melt by the time it hit the ground, but it did not. It continued away, obviously oblivious to the fact that it was April and that it should be melting. After a while, a blanket of snow was accumulating on the sidewalks.

Considered a Run

I was wondering if I should even consider running. I had joked with my Vancouver friends about packing my yaktrax into my suitcase. I have only used those once at home, the rare time when we get snow and ice and it lasts for more than a day. Today, there is definitely snow on the ground and here I am, without those yaktrax.

In addition to the snow, it was actually cold and windy out, too. The two previous runs I’ve done were colder than the coldest day I’ve run in Vancouver this winter. Although I almost always run on Saturdays, I bowed out. I chickened out. And I again had all the more respect for runners who live in cold snowy winters.

More Cleaning

Instead of doing a run today, I continued with my cleaning. My Dad, seeing how hard I was working, grabbed some garbage bags and started to gather up things to discard. The problem with downsizing a parent is that we can’t help with the actual sorting. What looks like junk to me could be valuable. All I could do was do general cleaning and encourage him to continue sorting.

I decided to tackle the fridge first. I cleaned it the last time I was here three years ago. I found out from my Dad that he hadn’t cleaned it since and it clearly showed that. I spent a few hours cleaning that out. To be fair, it is hard for my Dad to tackle bending over and cleaning in his condition.

I had to remove all the food and then remove all the shelves and drawers to soak them in hot water. There was so much caked on food stains on them so I had to let them sit. As I took out all of his food, I thought of how much tubs of butter or jars of pickles he had and wondered how he could possibly use them up. Then I started to think about how I tend to do the same thing, hoard certain things and how I’ll need to clean out my fridge when I get home.

Another Family Buffet

We went to a casino for their prime rib buffet. Nobody in our family gambles but we do go to the casinos for the buffet. As I piled my plate, I thought that today was the worst day to skip my run. Still, it is almost a family hobby and I couldn’t very well refuse to go. I very rarely go to all you can eat places in Vancouver so I figure that it’ll be okay for the duration here as long as I get back to normal when I return.

When we left, it was even colder and still snowing. I hadn’t brought warm enough shoes or clothing with me on this trip. Everything was getting soaked and I felt miserable. I couldn’t wait to get inside. I do have to give Winnipeggers credit for heating their houses really well at least.

Drinks with my Cousin

My cousin offered to pick me up when we went out for drinks. I didn’t feel like driving in that weather so I was happy to let somebody who was used to that to drive. We got to the restaurant/bar and it was packed, as expected, on a Saturday night. Although I’m going to see my cousin at a couple of family get-togethers, we got to just chat ourselves for three hours and that was really good. I probably complained too much about the weather though. I have to watch that, I’m sure Winnipeggers do not want to hear that from somebody from Vancouver complain about it.

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

Early Morning Cleaning

I woke up fairly early this morning to try to do some cleaning before we’d be going out for lunch. I was scrubbing away and working up a sweat. I can’t believe what a good work out I was getting from just doing vigorous cleaning!

Lunch with Dad and Brother

We drove across town to go to a community lunch. It’s a non-profit volunteer run lunch that some of my cousins volunteer at. When we got there, we saw a long line up. There was an unexpected group of students there and the kitchen had not been informed.

I hadn’t seen my cousins in a few years so it was nice to catch up briefly. They actually ran out of the lunch specials, so we had to make do with something else. Still, it was good to be there and be able to spend time with everybody.

Bad News on my Laptop

I brought my two laptops to see if my brother could fix them. My main laptop has been giving me problems for weeks and one day, just died completely. My back up laptop has also been giving me a lot of problems so he said that he would show it to his friend, a mac specialist.

My brother had a chance to work on my laptop and said that he didn’t have good news. He said that when he tried to retrieve the hard drive, it gave an error message that he had never seen before! That can’t be good. He said that he was going to try again but that I should prepare for the eventuality that it would be dead forever and that I’d never be able to retrieve my data.

Freezing Cold Run

I went out for a run today and thought that I would be warm enough because of the blazing sunshine. Unfortunately, there was a really strong wind that I didn’t notice until I turned the corner. I decided to try a local trail that the Running Room employee had suggested to me. On each side of the trail are mounds of snow and the wind was blowing the cold off of them.

I grew up here and I don’t remember it being this cold in April. I know that this has been the coldest winter in over a hundred years but still. I had several layers on and I still felt cold. I was tempted to turn around and go home but I kept running for at least two hours.

I wondered how it would be like to run more than two hours in this wind and cold? I have to do a long run this weekend and there is a forecast for snow! In April! I really need to do one more long run before next month’s marathon, so I really hope that I’ll be able to do one despite the weather.

Retail Blog

The one good thing about using my Dad’s computer is that he has a good photo editing program on it so I can do my retail blog photos with it. I had uploaded my photos on my spare laptop but then I had to give it to my brother so he could fix it.

Luckily, I had brought the memory stick with my photos on it. I had edited some of them at home, but I didn’t mind doing it again with this editing program because it’s a lot easier to use. I managed to do several posts in a short time, something I haven’t been able to do because of my computer problems at home. I felt good that I was able to get that work done. I’m going to try to do a little every night, until I stockpile several posts. That feels good.

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

Slept In

I didn’t get in until late last night and then stayed up to unpack. I was probably still on Vancouver time, which is two hours behind. It was nice sunny day. It’s always sunnier than it is in Vancouver so I was happy about that.

First Run in Winnipeg

I was looking forward to my first run in Winnipeg. I was going to run 4 miles or so to The Running Room. I had gone to that one when I was here a few years ago and they were helpful in providing local running paths. I hadn’t run in three days so I was chomping at the bit to run, too.

Adjusting to the Snow and Puddles

Even though it is April, there is still a lot of snow here. I didn’t believe my Dad when he told me that there was still a lot of snow, but here it was, piled up all over. The sidewalks were clear and so were the streets but the snow was melting, so there were a lot of puddles all over.

It was too dangerous to run on the road here. I got my nice new running shoes muddy and wet. Even my running pants got all wet and muddy. I wasn’t thrilled. I am used to rain in Vancouver, but not in deep and muddy puddles like this!

Running Room Information

A nice runner was working at the local Running Room. I told her my situation, about how I was visiting for two weeks and I would be running a marathon in around three weeks. I wondered how runners coped with running in the snow and ice all winter. I’m not sure if I could do it. I always whine when it snows and there is ice in Vancouver and I know that it is only temporary.

I wondered also how runners in Winnipeg can do hill runs. There are not many places that have hills. There are lots of places to practice hill runs in Vancouver so it didn’t occur to me that it might be difficult to find any in the flat prairies. She did suggest a bridge near by so I may do that.

Hoarding Problem is Inherited

One reason why I was coming home was to help my Dad downsize. He is selling his house and moving in with my brother. I didn’t think that there was a lot of stuff but when I actually looked around, I did see that he had a lot of stuff to get rid of.

I have the same hoarding problems but of different things. My Dad likes to collect tools and wood carving supplies. Unfortunately, I can’t help him much except to clean. He has to sort through things and decide what to put in the trash, what to donate and what to take with him.

Cleaning Up

I spent a few hours cleaning. Now that he is older, he has difficulty cleaning. Whereas I would spill something in the kitchen and then not hesitate to bend over and clean it up, it’s more difficult when you are older like my Dad is. With his arthritic knees, he can’t get on his hands and knees to scrub around the toilet either.

I rounded up all the cleaning supplies, vacuum and am trying to figure out the best way to approach this. He has 2000 square feet that I need to clean while I am here. I need to do as much as I can.

Dinner with Dad, Brother, Uncle

We went out with my brother and Uncle at a local buffet. After all my weeks of clean eating during my marathon training, it looks like it will be hard to maintain that as I eat all of my childhood favorites. As much as I love going out to eat with them, I have to rein myself in if I want to be able to finish that marathon next month!

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

Last Minute Packing

The day has finally arrived, the day I go home to Winnipeg. I haven’t been on a plane for almost two years, when I went on vacation to New York, Montreal, Lebanon and Jordan. I have still not packed completely. It’s been a few years since I was here last.

I am trying to take as much stuff as I can for my family. I have gifts to take as well. I have to pack carefully so that I won’t have to pay excess baggage fees. The airline only allows one bag and one carry on. Since they seldom weigh the carry on, I try to put the heaviest stuff in there. I also take the largest bag I can pass off as a handbag too. My flight is at 6 so I’ll have to have this all finished soon.

Wills and Estate Seminar

I went downtown to attend a free wills and estate seminar. As of March 31st, the laws regarding these were changed in our province. Although I don’t have a lot of time today, I did want to catch this seminar. I am still considering pursuing my elder website so this would be one of the important topics.

Although there was an outline of what we were going to cover, the lawyer allowed questions through out the whole seminar. Sometimes they were useful questions and sometimes they were so obscure and specific that there was no way that it could be of any use to anybody. As he allowed yet another question, I was wondering if he would finish the topics. I hate it when speakers do this.

I put up my hand and asked him if he could finish the topics, since it was almost the end of the seminar. Others were nodding so I wasn’t the only one who wanted to stay on topic and not have to listen to other people’s questions. In the end, I got an overview of what the changes would be and was given resources to look up more specific topics. I’m glad that I came.

Picked Up Cheques from Agent

I went to pick up my cheques from my extras agent. I hadn’t picked them up in quite a while so I had a good chunk of money which was good. I hadn’t seen them for a while so it was good to catch up, too. They weren’t as busy as I thought that they’d be so maybe the pilot season has ended. I know that regular shows are ending and other show’s seasons are starting soon. I took them immediately to the bank and felt a little better that I was able to make a deposit.

Flight to Winnipeg

I finally finished packing and had to rush to the airport. I wasn’t overly worried because I had already done a web check-in. My bags were so heavy and it was a real hassle to get on the bus and then skytrain.

I had forgotten that I had booked this flight to stop in Calgary first. My Dad and brother always complain when I do that but it was the cheapest fare. As I waited in Calgary with my carry-on bags, I can see why they don’t like to do that. Still, it saved at least $50 or more on the fare from flying direct.

I finally got in after midnight. When I went outside, I was shocked to feel how cold it was, especially with the wind. I already started to regret not bringing enough warm clothing with me. Although I hadn’t seen any snow from the airplane, I could see huge piles on the streets as we drove home. They were muddy so I didn’t see them as snow piles. I can’t believe that it’s April and they still have so much snow here.