Friday, October 28, 2011

Elementary School Hero

   Today I am a hero to one young man at the elementary school I've been working at this week. I've got to say it feels pretty good too. Here's the story:
   Wednesday afternoon was just like every other day. I showed up at the school near the end of the day when all the kids were about to leave, checked in at the office, and went about my normal routine of setting up my ladder and my paints. Most of the time I pretty much ignore the kids as I go about my job and they generally ignore me, though there are a lot of curious little ones that will stop to ask me what I'm doing.
   "I'm painting these pipes."
   "Because they're all rusty and ugly, so I'm going to make them look nice."
   Anyone with kids knows that this kind of conversation can go back and forth like that for a long time, but it doesn't bother me. I was just as curious when I was that age.
   Anyway, back to my story. So Wednesday afternoon I was up on my ladder painting away and I couldn't help but notice that there was one little boy who was very upset about something. It turns out he had lost his treasured Vancouver Canucks jersey and he was heart broken. It was an authentic, kid-sized NHL jersey too, not one of the cheap ones. The poor kid looked high and low for that jersey and was convinced someone had stolen it. I felt so bad for him.
   The next day as I was setting up again I saw that the kid still looked pretty upset over losing his jersey, but there was nothing anyone could do about it. It hadn't turned up in the lost and found box so it seemed as though it was gone forever. But it wasn't.
   Later that evening, long after everyone had gone home and it was only myself and the janitor in the building, I started painting above the stage in the gym. As I was working I had to move the heavy red curtain and lo and behold I spotted a little bit of blue and green poking out from under it. Sure enough, I lifted the curtain and there was this little Canucks jersey. I'm not surprised the kid didn't see it because when the curtain was pulled open the jersey must have gotten caught underneath it, dragged to the far right hand side of the stage, and pushed into the corner.
   So I took off my gloves to avoid getting paint on the jersey, gave it a good shake to get the dust off it, and promptly took it to the office. I didn't want to just leave it in the lost and found box where anyone could just take it. I then wrote a little note on a scrap of paper explaining the story with the jersey and to make sure that it was returned to its rightful owner.
   Just to make sure this story has a happy ending I called the school this morning. Sure enough, the jersey I found did belong to that kid and, according to the secretary, he was "thrilled to get it back." I wish I could have seen the look on the kid's face. It's too bad I'm not going to return to that school tonight as I have a job to do elsewhere, but it still feels good to know I've made that kid's day. I'm like a hero to him now, apparently.
   Sometimes something so small can make a big difference to a kid. Hopefully he's learned to pay a little more attention to his belongings.
   That's my story, dear friends. I hope it made you smile.

The Wandering Oak

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On The Air

   I have some exciting news, dear readers! You may recall in a previous blog that I mentioned I want to take a course that will hopefully get me back into working in the wonderful world of radio broadcasting. What? You don't remember? Didn't see the blog? Well, scroll two blogs down for a second. I'll wait...
   Caught up yet? Alright. Well here's the news: My favorite local modern rock radio station The Zone @ 91.3 is doing something all this month called My Turn Month in which regular listeners like myself get to host our own one hour show playing some of our favorite songs and chatting about whatever. From the hundreds, possibly thousands, of applicants for My Turn they chose mine! That's right, I get a chance to be on the air!
   My Turn on the air will take place tomorrow, Wednesday Oct. 26th, from 11:00am to 12:00 Noon Pacific time. Am I nervous? Only a little. Mostly, I'm excited. I've been on the radio before, but that was back in the late 90's at a small town AM radio station that was strictly formatted and played some awful music. I think my toaster has more wattage than that old station did. This is an opportunity for me to get a taste of what it's like to work for a big market FM station. I'll be sitting in the same room that countless rock stars and local celebrities have sat in, not to mention all the cool people who have had their chance at My Turn before me. Can we say stoked?
   What will I talk about? Well, I'm not sure. I'll most likely end up talking about my life as a painter here in Victoria. I might even answer that age-old question: Why do painters wear white? You'll have to listen Wednesday to find out.
    If you don't live in Victoria or within broadcast range you can go to The Zone's Website and click on "Listen Live". Remember I'll be on the air from 11:00am to Noon local Victoria time. Hope to see you there! Oh, wait, it's radio. I won't see you. Okay, tune in tomorrow. Yeah, that sounds better.
   Until then, this concludes my broadcast day. :)

"I sit alone and watch your lights. My only friend through teenage nights. And everything I had to know, I heard it on my radio." Queen - Radio Ga Ga
The Wandering Oak

Monday, October 3, 2011

Road Re Do

   All summer long the neighborhood I live in has been undergoing a major transformation. The shopping centre down the street is being erected at break neck speed and the highway behind my building has been repaved. None of that is as bad as the road re do going on in front of my home.
   Imagine waking up to this outside your bedroom window at 7:00am...
Notice how only a couple of guys are doing the work while the rest of them are just standing around talking about it.

   I understand that upgrades need to be done. Old utility lines and sewer pipes need replacing every few decades. What I can't understand is why is seems like they're doing everything twice. Or several times over for that matter. The crew will dig a hole and cart the dirt off in dump trucks, then they'll do whatever work needs to be done and bring in new dirt by the truckload. Then, the very next day, they'll dig that same spot back up and repeat the process. Can't they get it right the first time?
   Perhaps the biggest blunder has been with the sidewalks. New sidewalks were poured last week and they've already had to break some of them up and re pour them. In some spots it's because they forgot to install something underneath and in others I'm guessing the measurements were off. Again, can't they get it right the first time?
   More than anything else, I wish it would rain more. The dust generated by all of this has completely coated the entire neighborhood and the watering trucks have failed to keep up.
   I also miss the oak trees that were outside my home when I moved here last year and I really hope they replace them with new trees. Since the new sidewalks will be right at eye level with my kitchen window, and 10 feet closer, I really feel like we've lost our privacy. Here's a wider view of what the area looked like last summer...

   The old retaining wall shown in this picture has been completely covered over and the new wall shown in the first picture is much closer to my balcony. The new sidewalks are right about where those trees were. I hate people staring into my home as they walk by.

   I know that when all is said and done we'll have a nice new road outside our home and things will be quiet again, but it sure has taken a long time. The original bulletin said "July to September", but the new projected end date is sometime in late November! My tax dollars at work indeed. I hate to say this, but sometimes my wife and I regret buying into this building. Too bad houses on nice quiet streets are stupidly expensive in this city.

The Wandering Oak
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