The Cold War…

Fall as arrived.  The leaves are beginning to change colour.  The air has a fresh chill to it.  The stagnant, humid and stifling air of summer is no more.   That also means the cold days of summer are finally over.  Yes, I wrote that correctly:  the “cold” days of summer.  I work in an office.  Come summer, the thermostat gets set at something close to minus freezing.  This is to ensure that a “normal” room temperature is achieved.  At least, that is what the men in the building say.  I’ll give you a replay of a “summer day” at my work.

I have just gotten out of my air conditioned car (see, I don’t mind air conditioning) and I’m headed toward the front door of the office building where I work.  The air is thick with mugginess.  My straightened hair has begun to curl from the humidity.  My lacquered toes are peeping out from my strappy light pink sandals.  I am wearing a floral calf length summer dress.  It’s blowing breezily around my legs as the hot air blows around me.  As I open the front door to the building my breath catches in my throat.  The air is frigid.  Holy smokes I’ve walked into a meat locker!  Nope, nope, my mistake.  It definitely is my place of work.  I walk slowly toward my desk.  I am attempting to keep the warm air of the outdoors upon me as a shield until I can make it to my desk.  The final destination has emergency provisions in order to ensure regular blood flow and circulation thus halting any impending hypothermia.

My legs begin to stiffen.  My breathing is becoming shallower.  “KEEP MOVING!” yells my brain.  I finally make it to my desk and slump into my chair.  Blessedly my “office sweater” is still there.  I shakily take it off the back of the chair and slide first my left, then my right arm into the long knit sleeves.  The ice that was beginning to form has now begun to melt.  I am grateful for my office sweater.

The office sweater is a special garb.  It can be purchased in any store, but Walmart, Sears,  Target are good places.  You could even pick one up at a charity store like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  It needs to be soft because itchy sweaters don’t feel too good on ice cold body parts.  It is usually a large or extra large size making it more or less a one size fits all.  This is imperative as it will undoubtedly need to accommodate other women (sufferers) in the office.  This is especially certain during those times when someone has brought an office sweater home to wash it and has forgotten to return with it.  YOUR office knit will save their life.  Pockets, on this coveted article of clothing, are a bonus.  This is the receptacle for your facial tissue (due to dripping nose syndrome) and perhaps even lip balm.  You will eventually discover you have dry lips due to the chattering of your lips and harsh breaths you will inhale in order to maintain your status as a member of the living.

After putting on my office sweater, I reach under my desk and turn on my space heater.  As the coils start to glow red, I begin to have feeling in my toes.  The numbness in my toes has abated.  I happily wiggle my little piggies.  It feels so good.  I can feel the heat on them now.  My fingers have changed from the blue hue to a lovely pink vibrant and healthy colour.  I pull up the sleeves on my office sweater…to my wrists only…and turn on my computer.  If the sleeves went up any higher my arms would hit the slab of a cold desk and ice me out. There needs to be a buffer of warmth against the chillness of the desk.   After the anti-thaw ritual, I can now begin my workday.

During the course of the day, I will get up to visit the ladies room.  This particular room does not seem to get affected by the office temperature.  It’s a nice neutral room, but you can’t stay there forever.  My red legs (from the space heater) work as a shield as I walk around the office space.  Its defensive properties last about 3.17 minutes.  After that there are no guarantees.  I would liken it to an astronaut being lost in space.  Eventually the atmosphere will get you and kill you.  Getting back to your ship, a.k.a. desk, is the only way to survive.

I have visitors on especially hot summer days.  The OWNS (OWNS = Ones With No Sweater) announce their arrival at my desk with the loud chattering of their teeth.  They stand huddled together around my chair.  We breath sighs of relief as the heat emanates gloriously from beneath my desk.  The steady warmth can be felt for up to a two-foot circumference.  Colour returns to cheeks and lips.  Arms and legs begin to move more freely.  There is much rejoicing after the thaw.

This may sound like a tall tale, a complete fabrication.  I thought this scourge was only experienced by the females at my workplace.  Then one day, whilst surfing the [inter]net, I saw THIS documentary.

 

So here it is…the season of fall.  That time of year when the grand decision is made to ceremoniously unlock the thermostat and transition the office atmosphere from “frosty” to “toasty”.  Ladies!  Put away the communal office sweater.  Let it hibernate majestically for another year!  Now for closing prayer:

Thank you to the sweater gods

Who clothed and warmed our chilly bods

May office warmth be here to stay

So we can live another day.

Hallelujah!  We have survived another Cold War and we are grateful.

Check engine light…thanks

I was having a wonderful long July weekend.  A three-day weekend with lots of sleep-in days (or perhaps afternoon naps) and NOOOOOOO plans.  Selfish time!!  Don’t get me wrong.  I love socializing, but I also love time to myself and doing things (or not).   Anyway, I was starting off my long weekend, happily driving around to different stores and lolly-gagging (Oh yeah…love the old-time words).  Suddenly I saw a strange pictorial image.  Hmmm.  When my car attempts to communicate with me, I know there is an issue.  After Googling the picture I discovered it meant “check engine”.  F***  or   SH**!!!  There were many 4-letter words I came up with.  I did the mature thing and booked an appointment with my car dealership in order to remedy the situation.  The cost of this was swirling through my head and then I realized how lucky I was.  I found the silver lining in my predicament.  I hope you can share my newfound old-lady wisdom and incorporate it into your daily life.

I had a “Total Recall” moment (no Arnold Schwarzenegger but still life-changing) where I remembered when Wiseguy and I had only one vehicle.  I remembered waking up at 2 am to drive Wiseguy to work.  I then drove home to our apartment and slept for a few hours to get up later to go to the same workplace.  Yes, we had one vehicle.  We sacrificed and made due with what we had.  Walking through the underground parking at 2:30 am is quite scary…unless you are tired.  To be honest, being tired you don’t care who rides the elevator with you.  Probably a very good thing.  We did what had to be done in order to make a living.

Fast forward through life trials and tribulations.  We started off in a one-bedroom apartment with no furniture.  Seriously, no furniture. Our first purchase was a splurge on a bed.  Other than that, we were blessed to have a hotel banquet round table for 4 people and a motel tv donated by Wiseguy’s parents (truly, from his mom).  We had the best day ever when my mother-in-law took us shopping at Sears to get a couch.  We were moving up in the world!  Befriending a  Native (American/Canadian) Indian at work, we scooped up a pullout couch and a swivel chair.  Yes, we were lucky.  Furniture for the kids to actually be able to sit on!  For their beds, the poor darlings were relegated to tri-fold mattresses.  Just sponge covered with fabric.  I bought twin sheets (just the top one) in different colours so they could identify with one.  They slept on the floor in the living room.  It was all we had and we made it work.  It wasn’t easy, but there was a lot of love and we tried to make it as special as possible.

Clothing…well, we loved Value Village.  We found a way to clothe everyone with the wee little budget that we had to work with.  To be honest, Value Village (comparable to Goodwill or Salvation Army) had good quality items.  Some items still had the original store tags on them.  Am I embarrassed?  NO!  Everything we did was out of love.  We loved life.  We loved our children.  Belongings were not what were about.  We were about quality time and making memories.

So, here is a petit view of my perspective on our new world order.  We are used to looking at the world in a negative way and yet there are many things that are so positive.  So, I will now give you a mini-training lesson on finding the positive in the negative.  Here we go…

  •  My car shows the check engine light.

NORMAL REACTION:  (BLEEEEEEEEP)….SON OF A  (BLEEEEEEEEP)

NEW REACTION:  I am so lucky.  I have a vehicle that tells me when something is wrong.  I am not stranded on the side of the road.  Oh, even better, it’s summer.  I am not stuck on the side of the road in the middle of a Canadian winter.  Best yet…I am grateful that I have a vehicle.  I am grateful that I can afford to pay for the repair.  Life is good.

  • It’s 38 degrees (Cdn) and over 100 degrees (US)

NORMAL REACTION:  It’s too hot!  I can’t believe how hot it is.  It’s unbearable.

NEW REACTION:  I am so lucky to experience beautiful, warm weather after the cold winter.  I am also super grateful for the air conditioning that I can afford to have in my home.

  • I just got my hydro bill

NORMAL REACTION:  Seriously how much am I paying???

NEW REACTION:  I may not be pleased with my bill, but I am lucky to be able to pay my bills and have my house temperature cool so that I can sleep comfortably at night.

SUMMARY:  I hope your life is as great as mine.  It’s full of love and hugs (yes I’m a hugaholic).  And if not, I hope you find your way to that promised land.  You may think the things you own will make you happy, but as you get older you will find that less is more.  Not sure who mentioned that previously, but they were right.  Smile and think about how lucky you are.

Lastly, when the check engine light pops up, be happy.  It might cut into your savings, but it saved your life. It let you be around longer for those who love you.  Thank you “check engine” symbol.  It’s a reminder that everything in life in short.  Joie to vivre…Joy of life!