All The Way From …”The Bright End of Nowhere”

Uncategorized

 

Hey, Mr. Chips,

As I sit there, In the midst of my umpteenth Matthew Good concert my mind begins to run as fast as my legs, and hands were jamming to the songs. Flooded with thoughts. Trying my hardest to keep my shit together in the middle of a rock show at a damn casino. …I couldn’t.

I began to think about Jen, and what Matt Good meant to her, his songs, his lyrics, his messages, and his fight. What it means, and has meant for me. My mom, brother, and soon enough… Jen’s daughter, Abbey.

I then think back to when I used to write somewhere between occasionally and frequently on my blog. About my grieving, my loss, and just my everyday fight to find another tomorrow.

THEN… I think about that night when I just about closed my eyes and let go on that highway years ago. Someone saved me. I went home that night, and finally found the bravery, and the strength to write about this very journey. Thinking that one day, maybe this would bring me joy, and hopefully in the process provide others with at least the smallest ounce of courage.

THEN… I just stopped… I stopped thinking at the show, and I realized I’ve just stopped writing all together almost. Why. It’s done so much for me. Tears began to well down my eyes even more, so I shut my eyes and swayed my head to “Advertising on Police Cars” and I swear for a moment, only Jen and I were at that show. She held my hand, and said… “Blair, Write..” I swear, I could hear her say those two words, and then boom, heavy guitar, and light show on the stage. Rock show was back on.

As the show progressed, I was, in a weird way forced to continue thinking a million thoughts, to allow myself to keep it together.   But, I then thought to myself… Really, why have I not been writing this year? It used to bring me so much joy, and so much strength, and others.

But, THEN, I dug at myself a bit more, and perhaps found the reason. Selfishly… I don’t feel that I have to in order to survive anymore. When I first began writing, I didn’t know if anyone was ever going to read anything, but I ultimately had to write to save myself. There were no other options.

I thought, maybe one day I will find solace, and content.

I have finally found just that. I can’t pinpoint the exact date, or time, or what it was that finally allowed me for the first time in possibly forever, to feel… Good, I felt content, and I felt good about myself. I began to not fear tomorrow. I can, and will say I do believe there was three particular events that occurred this year that I think really helped me get to “contentment”

 

  1. Professional Life. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know I hold myself to an absolutely unbelievably unrealistic standard, and am rarely, if ever satisfied with myself. I struggle with failure, and struggle with needing more. For the first time ever, I am perfectly happy, and succeeding in my professional life, and those feelings have slowly eroded, and gone away. It was 11:11 a couple months ago, and I couldn’t even think of wish. Then, I kind of chuckled, thought… Everything is ok right now. I have what I need.

 

  1. You may laugh, and it seems silly… perhaps it is a bit. But, I’ve always loved cats. Grew up with them. My whole family is full of cat people. Amanda, not so much. I’ve begged her, and begged our entire relationship to one day get a cat. Finally, I just gave up. Was convinced I would never have one. Then one day, she drove me out to the boonies and surprised me with a litter of Maine Coon kittens, allowing me to choose my very own cat dude. I couldn’t believe it. In that very moment, I don’t know if I have ever felt that much joy, and excitement. I could not contain myself. To this day, Kukui continues to provide endless amounts of entertainment, and joy to our family. Amanda included, who is absolutely in love with kitten. As much joy as this massive fuzzrat has brought me, I can say he’s done the same for our dog; Kona as well.

 

  1. July 25, 2015, and every day after. I got to finally call the girl of my dreams; my wife. I knew the day I asked Amanda out I wanted her to be my wife. Lofty goals for a grade 9 student, but I knew. We’ve been through hell, and back together a few times, so to finally marry Amanda, was simply a dream come true. Every day since, I put my ring on in the morning and I just feel like a different person.   I am beyond confident in myself; I am suddenly comfortable with myself, and for the first time ever… I feel proud of myself, and feel accomplished. Something that I have forever longed for.

 

These three events I believe have allowed me to find happiness and joy in my life every day. Sure, I still have shitty days… I think everyone does. But, now, just knowing you’re ok, can go such a long way when you’re having those shitty days. I never used to have that to help me get through times when I was down. I didn’t have many options on how to get myself out of ruts. I was trying to learn some different things. So I would write, and it almost always was able to pull me temporarily out of where I was. Then, I’d receive so many notes, messages, and constant feedback from friends, family and people I don’t even know about how much I was helping them, and I was able to feel for a moment, a small sense of pride. Though, it never lasted. But, it was all part of the process I think of getting to where I am today.

When I would write to save myself, as you know it was a tremendous process for me. It was emotionally, and mentally exhausting. So I would often times have to work myself up for it. I would race home knowing I needed to get to my computer, and write. Be it at 6pm after work, or at 10:30pm after something else. I ‘d stay up as late as I needed to till I could finally take a deep breath, go on with half a smile, and go to sleep not fearing tomorrow might be the same dreadful day. I would look forward to connecting with people who had read my post. But, there aren’t days where I race home to write, or go to bed longing to see the comments on social media in the morning. Or, since I felt better, selfishly, again… I was good with just that, and no more. There aren’t nights I come home anymore, and feel like I am two feet tall, and to get back to height, I need to light up the incense and type.  Now, I am able to come home to my wife, and my two boys and I feel like everything is going to be fine, no matter how shitty the day may have gone. I just feel stronger, and they always light me up with smiles, and laughter.

Another reason… This may seem weird; especially for those who know me really well, but if I am not within my circle of comfort, and friends… I am very quiet, and humble. I’ve been referred to as a sponge in these circumstances, quiet and absorbing.   I don’t usually like to take much credit for things, I don’t like much to talk about my successes, if any, and I don’t care to make myself feel superior to others, or boast about perhaps having more, or something someone doesn’t. Like… happiness. I know how hard that can be when you’re struggling, and people kick you when you’re down, even if they don’t mean to. I’ve been there. I do not want to humiliate anyone, and I don’t want to toot my own horn, and brag that I have finally found some piece of joy.

So as much bravery, and strength as it took for me to start this blog a few years ago, after almost letting go.   I’ve seemingly come 180, and now am learning to find the bravery, and the strength to write about my life now that I am holding on, and things are okay. It’s a different take on things, but it’s amazing how when I felt so desperate, lost, and out of control. I created GoneAwayBoys to talk about how I felt just that, but now that I feel in control, and happy… I don’t want to talk about it all. I want to just go about my business. Quietly.

It’s a different bravery I feel I have to find now, but for whatever reason it almost seems harder now. I was out of options when this blog started. I had nothing left. I almost let go. Now, I just… feel like I have so much.

As long, painful and strenuous as this journey from complete depression to happiness has been, being able to finally say that I am okay has not been easy. As I’ve mentioned I believe there were three big events this year that allowed me to write this, but more than that it’s been all of the little things along the way. I have worked so hard on getting myself better, and have been so cognizant of it. I can honestly say though, as much as this blog has saved my life… without the comments, the messages, and the feedback that I have received from friends, and strangers I certainly would not be able to write to you today. Everyone that has even done so much as liked a post I wrote, you’ve made a difference in my life. You really have. You have helped get me here today.

Even a year ago… I could never imagine saying some of the things I have said in this entry, and I certainly never believed this one as much as I do now, and that I will leave with you.

… It does get better.

 

Advertisements

The Unfortunate World that has become Spring Hockey

Uncategorized

For the last eight years, I have spent the bulk of the fall and winter coaching minor hockey. From community bantam, minor midget aaa, to bantam aaa and finally midget aaa. I have been very lucky in my brief coaching career to have the opportunity to learn from some very strong hockey minds, and build some special relationships.

My first year coaching in Calgary, I was randomly paired up with this big fuzzy blue noser… 8 years later, Geoff would stand for me at my wedding as a groomsmen. We’ve coached a number of teams together, and still to this day coach every spring together.

Then, there was the two years I coached Minor Midget AAA and had a tone of success with who is now the best hidden gem of the hockey coaches community; Brent Osmond. To this day, of all the people I have spent time with. He’s one of the best coaches I have ever been around from his knowledge of the game, to his ability to get the most out of every single player, and still push them. Guys would go through walls for Brent. I admired that.

Then, I spent a summer working at the Okanagan Hockey School where I got to work alongside some very good coaches who have had long careers both playing and coaching professionally. From Mike Needham, Dixon Ward, Barry Smith and Mark Holick. Some of these guys I only even spent a week around, and still learned so much. It pays off to be a sponge I guess.

Then, I locked into the next four years coaching with Tyler Drader who gave me an opportunity to join some really special hockey teams, and coach some very, very talented players. I too, have learned so much from the years spent with Ty, always very patient, and fair when I sometimes was ready to fly off the handle, and write guys off, he was always the voice of reason…often was right. Certainly learned a lot about composure from Ty.

Each of those guys I mentioned above has shaped me not only as a person, but as a coach as well. They all had different strengths that I tried to absorb and mold into my coaching style. And while, I will be the first to admit that I am not the worlds best coach, or teacher by any stretch of the imagination, I do strongly believe that any quality of me as a coach can be directly traced back to my mentors above.

Now, with that all said… The last few years I have been immersed into spring hockey… for better, or worse. I’ve stuck with the 03 group the last few years, which at the time was a daunting challenge as 14 year olds was the youngest I’d ever coached, and I am horrible with kids, so coaching 10 year olds seemed like a terrible idea. But, I can honestly say I absolutely love every second of coaching with these kids. When we are on the ice together, or at the rink together. I don’t know if I’ve enjoyed coaching more. Part of it, I think is because of the group of core kids we’ve had the last couple years. They are such good kids, and most of them are want to learn, want to get better and willing to put in the work required.

Sure, we aren’t the best team around, I don’t know that we will ever win any major tournaments, and frankly… this might shock some of you to hear… I really don’t care if we ever win a “major” tournament with these now 12 year olds. That may sound appalling, and terrifying for some of you parents to hear. But, I really don’t care and here’s why.

Spring hockey has become a complete monster. A mess. I’ve always thought while coaching association hockey, boy, wouldn’t it be nice if there were no boundaries and we could pick whomever we want? Well.. That’s how spring works, and it’s a disaster. Granted, for me, the purpose of spring hockey is a bit different than that of association/winter hockey. The main goal is to of course, develop these players into fine young men, and athletes both on and off the ice. That’s a common theme in every sport, at every level. But, in winter, especially at elite levels, there’s more at stake. There really is, there’s scouts, and more scouts, agents, more agents and pretengents, then there are managers of teams, and coaches of teams from the next level, and then there are websites, and basement blogs with their meaningless opinions. However, there is still a pressuring desire to win, and there are true major, prestigious tournaments to win, that speak volumes about the kids that win them. I’m talking… Alberta Cup, John Reid Memorial, Western Canadian Bantam Championships, Sutter Cup, Macs Midget Tournament, Pacific Regionals, and perhaps the holy grail of minor hockey… Telus Cup. This may too also shock some of you spring hockey parents that I don’t have the Winnipeg Spring Tournament, or the Vancouver, or the Regina one in my list. Forgive me; I don’t even know the names of these tournies. But, these truly are not major tournaments.

All those people that relatively matter I mentioned above, you know… the scouts, coaches, managers, etc… They know each and every single kid that has won one of these prestigious tournaments. I could almost guarantee you that 98% of them… have no clue who won those spring tournaments; if… they even know that they exist. Sorry.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that winning, and team success if far more of a premium in winter hockey, and far less of one in spring, or at least it should be.  But, the emphasis of spring has been misplaced with parents on the front lines of this movement. Whether the place the emphasis on winning as a result of fear, and intimidation from these spring groups, or the just simply have no clue. But, I’ve even had a parent tell me winter hockey is a waste of their time, they just wait for spring hockey. The 9-10 weeks of it. Also have had parents tell me that practices are useless, and they will only come to half of them, but all games. I kid you not. I’ve had multiple parents tell me both these things, and worse. It’s all ass-backwards.

In all my years of coaching AAA hockey, when we get to camp and get these long lists of registrants, and players that are trying out for our team. These sheets include most of the following information.

  • Name
  • Position
  • Previous Team

That’s it… and previous team is their previous winter team. No place, nowhere is there mention of their spring team, how many points they had, or what tournament they won in June. And trust me, no coach knows, or cares if he played spring hockey on a bronze team, a super elite team or didn’t play at all, perhaps he played baseball. They care only about 1 thing… Can this kid play?

Unfortunately, throughout the levels of spring hockey, many parent’s have concerned themselves with one thing, and one thing only when deciding where to play. Best team. Regardless of what team little Jonny wants to play in, or where his friends are, or what coach he likes best… Dad wants them to play on the best team. Why?… He’ll tell you cause his kid will get better playing on the best team. When truth is, kids going to eventually end up not having a tonne of fun sitting on the bench, or going through the pressures of being this super super team for the ten week spring season, so the kid eventually ends up losing his fire for hockey, and worst case… they quit at ten years old, which is beginning to happen.   Heartbreaking. All the while, these kids are quitting, other families are scared to leave these super duper teams because for some reason they feel their son will be later blacklisted from what… I have no idea.

In fact, just recently… had a family quit my spring team in favor of another supposed “elite” team out of another province. After they screwed us around a few times, trying to play on both teams. They ultimately decided to join the super elite team, we had recently just beat… when I asked why? … They had signed a contract that made them commit to their team, and their team only. Yes. They were forbidden to play for any other team, or miss practices of this super team. So I asked what would happen… Are you going to get sued, or go to jail if you play with us instead and miss their practice?

“…No, I just am not ready to burn any bridges with them yet”

… Don’t want to burn any bridges with a team based out of another province, coached by some random group of guys? …Ok. Wasn’t a fight worth fighting.

Three months later, I reluctantly declined to coach the winter team that player would be trying out for.   Talk about burning bridges. Yikes. Close one. Maybe the kid learned more with these other guys, or had more fun. In which case… Fair enough. Fine with me. Fortunately, if the kids good enough, I’d take the kid, regardless. Coaches can’t hold grudges, and should never blackmail parents. Gives you an idea of how some of these parents think, and the games some of these coaches, and programs play. Who the hell makes an 11 year old sign a contract.

I don’t understand why the parents do this. It’s like holding their kids hostage, if they don’t want to play there… don’t make them play there. Just so mom and dad can hold their nose up in the air, and show off their nice pretty jackets… who cares? That jacket won’t fit soon anyway, and your kid is no longer having fun with hockey, so he’s not learning, not getting any better… and anytime now will fall behind every one else as a result. Or, worst case… He quits this great game. Good job Dad.   But hey… you have the swag still.

I wanted to keep this short, but I got fired right up the last few paragraphs. My point is here folks, see spring hockey for what is, a place to develop, stay on your skates and get prepared for the next level until he gets to bantam and there’s no longer the need for spring. It’s not about winning, sure, winning is great. Who doesn’t love it, but the more important thing in my mind about spring hockey, is simply getting better and each kid has different things that make him tick, and help him develop. The one common theme amongst all of that is; having fun. If kids are having fun, they are learning, developing and in the right environment… plus, they’ll love the game, which makes coming to the rink every day fun.

When I was this age, there were two options for playing spring hockey. If you were a phenom from Edmonton area, you played NAA. If you were a phenom from the Calgary area, you played Foothills. If you were neither, which was majority of us were. You rode your bike around in the spring, played baseball, roller hockey and road hockey. Good enough. Now, there are 15-20 teams just per age group, per freaking city! It’s crazy. Which, has of course led to this crisis and disaster. So with there being that many teams, of course parents unfortunately have to make decisions.

I can’t speak to the decision making process of which team your 8 year old plays on… Frankly, it should be a baseball team somewhere else… but when it comes to these 03s, who next spring will be beginning their transition into contact hockey the following fall. It’s a very important year; don’t just put your team on Team X because you believe it’s a better team. Isn’t what spring hockey should be about, nor does the best team automatically make for the best route for your son.

Please, for the love of God, hockey and your kid’s passion…

Let him find a team he enjoys being around, regardless of the prowess of his fellow winger.

Let him find the coach he feels he can learn from the best.

Let him find the practices that he feels challenged in, and gets into your vehicle after every skate and talks about how fun it was the whole way home.

Let him be apart of the solution for the “weaker” team, and let him challenge himself instead of teaching him that you can just float by and win meaningless tournaments with your nose in the air. I miss the important lesson here.

Let him play with his friends, maybe!!!

….And for effsakes… why not let him display some maturity, accountability and make the decision on his own. Unless he chooses the team of delinqieunts, let the kid play where he wants to play. Not where you think there are better players. It will backfire, if that’s your only reason. If you meet all the criteria above, and it leads Timmy back to the snob team… then, that’s where you go and I am happy for you. It will work for some. Not all.

I’m sure you’re probably all thinking I wrote this as a recruiting ploy for my own team, and that was not the case. In fact, it’s quite a sad story why I decided I had to write this. Recently, I have heard of a number of these young kids, who are great players, quitting our game at such a young age, and to be honest… It crushed me. Some of them just decided to give up spring hockey altogether, while others just quit the game entirely. It honest to God, broke my heart when I heard this. It really did. It’s absolutely criminal. Hockey is such a damn fine game, and can provide so much for these guys in a lifetime, even if they end up playing beer league with their coaches in fifteen years. Hockey will teach them so much, just let the kids play, and let them have fun doing so. They’ll learn, and this is where they will develop into good men.

Being only ever involved in winter hockey, it took me till spring hockey to realize this, but… winning really is not what it’s about. It’s about developing good people, and athletes, and hey… if you catch a banner, or a trophy along the way. All the power to you… Just do it when people are watching, and people watch middle of September –first week of April.

Good luck to all the kids at training camp in whatever league, or level they are in!

Have a great year!

Grocery Store Wars – At My Most Chill

Uncategorized

What a summer this has been. Easily, without a doubt this has been the best summer of my life. For the first time, in possibly… ever, I felt and feel complete contentment. Lake Havasu & Phoenix kicked off the summer, with all of my best friends, and my new father in law.   Then, there was the big event. Marrying my best friend, and for the first time in my life, realizing a childhood dream come true. No, my dream was not to just get married. But, since I was 12 years old, and met Amanda… I wanted her to be my wife. What kid thinks of that? I have no idea… but I did, and July 25th, a dream came true for me. I get to officially call her my wife. It still seems so surreal, that this has all happened. But, maybe that’s what it feels like when your dreams come true.

The single greatest day of my life.

Last weekend, we took off to the Okanagan with two of my best friends, and their girls. There aren’t many things better than being in the OK to begin with… then add to that a couple days of winery after winery. Amazing.

Today, I finally had a chance to take a deep breath, and relax with zero plans. EXCEPT! Go grocery shopping. Which brings us together today. Now to most people… This probably seems like an arduous and miserable task, and for me majority of the time it is. I hate going to Costco, I hate going to Safeway, I despise walking into a Superstore and Co-op doesn’t do much for me either.

Safeway, I can’t stand the lighting, and their colors. Completely brutal. You’d have to pay me $200 an hour to wear that sand brown dress shirt with that apron. Then, there is their overpriced…everything. But, we’re going to keep cost out of this today. We talkin’ grocery store intangibles.

Let’s move to Costco… Don’t get me wrong, Costco is great, products incredible, even moreso if you’re buying for a colony, the quantity in which product is packed is something else. I can think of a few pals that thought buying condoms at Costco would last them a summer… This was 2006; pretty sure the box hasn’t seen much of a dent. Should have gone to 7-11 for those.

Costco would be so much more enjoyable, if I could just rent it for an hour and shop solely by myself, and ensure all the food sample people are going, and every time I turn the corner to another red stand with a conventional over, that bagel bite is fresh out of the oven. Too many times I go to Costco, see a lady cooking up chicken wings, fight through all the shopping carts and grapefruit stands to get to these honey garlic wings, and… Well shit, she just threw them in. Come on. Off to the next one… Oh, nope. Some eight year old shorter than the red-aproned stand came in and swiped the rest of the Dixie cups. Bastard. Though, I can’t get mad. That used to be me. I get it. Today, I’ll just fucking starve kid. You prick. Then, once my cart is filled to the brim, and overflowing with cat litter, dog food, cat food, and beef jerky…. I must find the magic lineup. Well, all these lineups are at least 45 carts long. Whatever. Pick this one. I’ll be back. Going piss, and to get a hot dog with fries. Speaking of fries… they don’t even label what jar is salt and pepper! I put fucking hot cocoa powder all over my fries last time. WHO THE HELL HAS HOT COCOA MIXED IN WITH THE KETCHUP, MUSTARD AND SHIT. ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE. Thanks for the cocoa fries. How hard is it to put, S, P and Cocoa Dust on the shakers. I hate you Costco, and all the people that crowd up the vegetable aisle, and just leave their carts in the middle of the road. Costco seriously needs aisle lights, or you need to have a license to operate a cart there. UGH.

Ok. Well that got ugly… What do we have left? Superstore? Well… I trust you’ve been to a superstore, so I won’t even dignify it with detailed conversation. I feel like I am buying my groceries from a third or fourth hand consignment store when I am there.

That brings us to Co-op… You know what, I shouldn’t be that hard on Co-op. The meats are great there, and I think it’s marginally better priced than Safeway. Again, the colors, and the ambiance doesn’t necessarily thrill me, but neither does it being me to a sixty minute violent stomach flu like Safeyway does. Co-Op loses on poor stigma. It brings me back to the hideous co-op in Vegreville that my mom used to torment me to go with her to. Good grief, I hated that place. So Co-Op… Sorry, you never even had a chance.

Alright. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Save on Foods. Now, previous to moving to Mahogany in SE Calgary, never even really thought about SOF. I don’t think one existed in Calgary at the time. I recall visiting one in Edmonton, but it was just another grocery store, and I was possibly to young to appreciate it. Or, Mom wouldn’t let me buy the damn peach YOP so I hated it. Well, we moved to SE Calgary almost two years ago. In my hunt of nearby amenities, and resources I found a Save on Foods in Seton. Hmm. Never been let’s try it.

Right off the bat, we hit it off. The building was beautiful, the area looks like some modern day space shuttle take off thingy kind of place, with sick lights in the evening that change color. Then there is the parking; this is where the other places generally blow it right off the bat. Costco…they might as well have a C Train that drops you off at the lady pretending to check your Costco card. SOF… Parking everywhere! Never once an issue. After you park, what’s next… Carts. Well, Don’t need to worry about if I have a loonie, or a quarter on me. I’m just going to grab a nice green cart. Meanwhile, at Safeway, never know if you’re going to need a penny, or a red bill to unlock one of those. I have NEVER understood that concept. The carts at SOF, they are always mint. Wheels work, never dirty, never garbage in them from the previous operator. Safeway… Complete shit. I’ll compare SOF Carts to a brand new Ford, while the Safeway carts are more like a 76’ Chevette. Costco carts… Well, that’s a 15 man econoline van. Good luck.

Now that we’ve parked, and we’ve grabbed our luxurious carts, lets indulge into what has become one of most relaxing, enjoyable experiences of my life. Perhaps this has come with age, and marriage. But, I honest to gracious enjoy very few things more than I do that going to Save On Foods in the late morning of a weekend. I actually look forward to it. Like a kid on Christmas Eve. Perhaps, It’s so enjoyable because it’s often just quiet, me time. But, the store facilitates all the things that I need to just… detox myself of everything poor in my life for ninety minutes, and that’s exactly what it does. It’s strange, and your judging me… I know. But, I am at my utmost chill at Save on Foods at 11:00am Saturday. I’ve always felt like this going there, but I’ve never really acknowledged it, or thought about it till today. Why in the fuck does this place completely wipe me clean, and mellow me out like some kind of hippie lost in the forest of Vancouver Island. It’s just so chill.

Some of the things I mentioned I hated at SOF competitors.

  1. Colors. Everything is bright and pleasant at SOF, the uniforms are a bright green with white. The lighting is incredible; it’s the right amount of illumination, without being blinded, or feeling like you’re entering the dungeons of Safeway.
  1. The staff. They are not overbearing, and they are not everywhere. However, they are always doing their jobs, easy to find, and willing to assist you if you need.
  1. The Sounds. I go to a pub, and I couldn’t tell you three hours later the kind of music they played, maybe because I wasn’t listening for it, or possibly it was too quiet. Either way. It’s rarely atop of mind. At SOF, the music there is always great. They play music that’s well known, but not overplayed. They play music from various eras, so guaranteed every single person in there will enjoy at least three songs while enduring a shopping trip. They play it at the right volume. It’s loud enough to drown out any possibly painful conversation around, and just perfect enough for you to enjoy the song. It’s quiet enough you can hear yourself think enough to choose what hot sauce you want, and you can hear the man at frozen meat counter ask “is that all”.
  1. The People. I mentioned the staff; phenomenal. But, for some reason the other people there seem to be in the same state as my, shopping for peeled shrimp, completely relaxed. They too, are quiet, relaxed it seems, and hardly annoying, or difficult. I often wonder if SOF has a 21+ rule or something, because never see any hoodlums, or screaming kids in there. Nothing annoys me more than humans, and I’ve never once been irritated by people at SOF.
  1. Space. The aisles are gifted with enough width, and length that never seems overcrowded, or busy there. There is just the right amount of aisles, they are lableled, and organized enough, you’re always able to find even the most obscure things the wife puts on the list… like dry Swiffer pads.
  1. Cleanliness. I remember working my first ever job at Extra Foods in Vegreville, and I hated it. We’d spend hours a week just bringing boxes of rice a roni to the front of the shelf. I always thought this was trivial, absurd and painful. But… Now, as I enter the shoes of a consumer, it’s extremely helpful and I totally get it. Save on Foods must have 24-7 invincible robots doing this, because the shelves NEVER appear empty. EVER. Very organized, and very clean. All of the time. Most grocery stores I feel like after I touch something I need to douse myself in sanitizer, not here.   Then, there is the floor… Superstore gets an F in this regard, SOF get’s another A+, the floors are always glistening. Literally, glistening. I don’t understand how they do it.
  1. The sausage selection at the meat counter. Incredible variety. Chipotle. Maple. Jalapeno. Lime. Ginger. Spinach & Feta. Italian. Texas. Smoked… On and On…

I could honestly go on and on about the 31 wonders of this facility, but I will end up writing six pages on grocery stores. OH ya!

  1. Rarely ever a lineup, and always the right amount of tills opened.

I’m sure you’re thinking I am completely wacked, or maybe have even lost my mind in my two weeks of marriage, but this is the honest to God truth. I freaking love Save on Foods. It’s magical for me. Like Disneyland for you, it’s a place of pure, complete relaxation for me. A place to getaway.

…. And I don’t even cook, clean or use half the shit I buy.

What Makes You Happy?

Uncategorized

What Makes You Happy

 

I haven’t written in a long time, part of me felt like it was maybe because I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been feeling as depressed. My life had seemingly come together, even if just the slightest. I always told myself that when hockey ended, I was going to become an author, a literary wizard; I was going to write every day now that I had a bit more time. Well, hockey’s been over for about six weeks, and I am just starting to write at 10:56PM Easter Sunday.

Sure, I’ve been busy with things in the meantime, but if anyone knows me, busy, is not an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the means to do it. Busy doesn’t exist in my world. It’s not because I don’t ever do anything, in fact, that’s probably quite the opposite. I probably have more going on than most folk. Actually, I could almost guarantee that. I just don’t feel the need to let everyone know how I preoccupied I am. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. It makes me sick when people say they are too busy.

Why? I remember years ago, my sister tried to chat with me through Facebook, through simple Internet chat… and, I recall looking at the messages, the message read something along the lines of hey, call me when you got some time, want to know how college is going. I looked at it, thought, meh; I’ll call her later… I am busy. I never called her. And, I don’t know if I ever talked to her again. She committed suicide a couple of months after, and I’ve never been too busy since.   So when people tell me, they are too busy. It doesn’t sit well. At all.

So, to say that I haven’t been writing, because I have been doing well, or because I have been doing poorly… I don’t even know the answer. Sometimes life has a tendency to just happen, and just leave me trapped in the motions that I just can’t comprehend the appropriate emotions, and feelings.

I know that writing provides me with the single most joyous experiences of my life. So, you would think it’s easier to do so. But… for some reason, it’s been getting more difficult, and for the first time, I feel like my writing is actually good. In the past, all I did was write about how I felt. That’s it. There was no scientific method to it; there was no English specialty behind it. Simply, just how I felt. I have such a difficult time re-reading my pieces, for a variety of reasons… mainly because I feel such a huge disconnect with the person who wrote that very piece, but also because… I think it’s shit. I looked earlier, and I have posted 47 entries to GAB. This being 48. I can honestly say that 1 was of quality, Your Move Chief. So, as much gratification as writing brings me… I don’t know if it’s from the actual writing, or the feedback. As pathetic as this may be, I seek so much approval, and accreditation, from… whomever, predominantly from my mom, and from my fiancé…. It’s pathetic, if I don’t hear anything within a day or so, I am texting those two asking what they thought… It drives me crazy that I do this. But… I do. And, I can probably recap every single compliment, or piece of positive feedback I have received from my blog. There is truly nothing, and I mean NOTHING more gratifying than when I hear about people who have read my blog, and find comfort from reading. Whether, I know them or not. I spend so much time wanting to write, then I spend such little time actually writing, and I conclude with spending even more time looking for approval on my writing. From, my family… my fiancé… my best friends… my friends… strangers… When, I receive this, it’s pure happiness. Joy. Elation. You know that feeling where you just can’t wipe that smile off your face. This is the only time I’ll feel it. So you’d think I’d write more, with this being the case. But, truth is… I think I have become a bit scared. My unrelenting life standards have once again trapped me with failure. Where, I need simple accolades. However, that’s slowed down significantly. I don’t know if it’s because my writing has gotten stale, or the content has. Or maybe, I am just without the random viewers from Europe. Or, perhaps, the people who have already graciously patted my back don’t feel like they need to tell me good job every single fucking time. Though they shouldn’t. However, I feel like, unless I get that… I am failing. I want to know what every single person thinks of my writing, even if they think it’s complete crap. I just want to know… because; I think it is too, I can’t even find myself appreciative, and satisfied with my own work.

So, in getting to the point of this entry… the great folks at Mind Your Mind proposed the question, what makes you happy? I thought about it for a long, long time. There are so many things that I enjoy, so many. But, to label them as something that makes me completely happy would likely be false. I think at any point, doing makes me happy. Regardless, of what it is that I am doing. I think sometimes you can find temporary joy in that, and I do. But, I tried to really think of something that makes me truly happy. True joy. I almost couldn’t think of anything, till I thought about writing, then I thought about all of the positive feedback I have received over the two years, and the people I have been able to help, if even just to help them temporarily. This has brought me pure joy, and continues to do so. It’s the only thing that allows me to feel self-pride, and self worth. Regardless, of the success I have at work, or in coaching sports, or my daily life even. I always seem to be stuck wanting more, and eventually get a place where good just isn’t good enough. But, with writing, that’s different. Even, if I receive two notes about my latest post, to me it was a success, and it provides that feeling. That feeling where I can’t stop but smiling, even if it’s a random stranger at an arena that says, “hey, you’re the guy that writes that mental health blog” … Yes, I guess so. These are the things that keep me ticking, and continue to remind me just what it is to feel joy, and to feel good.

You just hope that somehow you can find a way to enjoy, accept and appreciate your own bravery and work. Sometimes there is just far too much pressure on writing purely for the audience, and hoping to help them find joy, and hope. I need to find my own first.

Rest easy, and rest happily Max. I hope you can still find some time to read my blog, and I hope that you’ve found true joy.   I know you and Jen are hanging out as we speak. Listening to music, watching over us, and laughing at us.

Pigeon Camera – When Dreams Happen

Uncategorized

If you’ve been following along my blog for some time, you know now that I love music.  I am always listening to music, reading lyrics, watching concerts…etc.  Growing up it was a big thing in our family.  The second thing you might know, is every now and then I have dreams of which my sister is in.  Sometimes so vividly, I can see that she is happy, enjoying herself.  I believe this is her way of telling me she’s better now, and that things are going to be alright.  I wish I had these dreams of her more often.

A few of these dreams I’ve had with her, I’ve really tried to keep with me, and revisit them often. Just to see her smile, and to see her laugh.  Sometimes I’ll ask her before I go to sleep how she’s doing, and to visit me soon in my dreams.  Hoping that I’ll see her again.  One dream I had with her in particular, I can recall almost every little detail, and have still images of this dream as if were some kind of photograph.

We were in a dark room, presumably some kind of pub.  Looked just like the Crocodile Pub in Seattle; my favorite place on the planet.  Jen loved Seattle, I often wonder if she got to go there.  Anyways.  Ahead was a small wooden stage lifted about a foot off the floor.  The stage, well-lit, sat in front of a small circular table that my mom, my sister and myself sat at in high black bar stools.  I can even remember the order of which we sat.  Mom was in the middle, Jen to the left, me to the right.  We sat, and laughed, all we did was laugh.  Jen looked just as I remember, she just looked… happier.  In front of us, on the stage performing was the Tragically Hip, complete with Gord Downie’s usual performing antics that make them such a phenomenal show.  It just seemed so real.  They just played, and played, while we sat at our grungy round table laughing, embracing the show in front of us…. and they just kept playing.

The Hip have always been a band that we listened to as I was kid, and growing up, I mean… who didn’t?? As I got older, I realized that my mom was more often right than wrong in her choice of tunes, and I learned to appreciate some of the bands she forced on me more and more.  Today, I love them all.  Music was something that we could all share together as a family, and continue to do so now as Brody grows up and learns to appreciate real music.  I remember always talking about music with Jen, wanting to look through her Roots CD wallet, see what new albums she had, or what she was listening too.  I’d try to trade her some of my discs for hers, or if deal was declined, I’d just try sneak away with the ones I wanted. Borrowing!  I must have gone through that CD Wallet five thousand times growing up.  That very same CD wallet is one of the most cherished items that I now have. It sits in my bookshelf, with all of her CDs still in place.  I’ll take them out, listen to them occasionally, and they go right back in the exact sleeve I found them.  I take care of this thing, more than I take care of anything else that I own.  For years, I wouldn’t put it near anything else, in fear that it would lose the scent of her.  I can remember yelling at Amanda after she moved in with the rest of the photo albums and such on the bookshelf at our old condo.  She asked why, and I didn’t want to tell her, I think I just said “Because!”  One of the other things I have of hers is the “Hipeponymous” box set, which I treat as if it were a million dollar item as well.  These two things that I have of hers, to me are as important as the pictures, and the memories I have of her, and more important than pretty well anything that I claim to own.

I’ve been to a Hip performance once before; Stampede Roundup.  However, I stuck about 300 yards back, and could hardly see a thing, or hear.  So to me, I don’t count that as really seeing them, cause, well… I didn’t.  Thus, The Hip have long been on my concert bucket list.  I’ve been fortunate enough to attend countless amounts of shows, and have seen many of my favorite bands.  However, none of which were shared with Jen.  It’s something that I think about every concert I go to.  Man…  I wish you were here.  I think this is probably what led to the aforementioned dream.


Last night… My brother got to enjoy his first real concert, and I got to knock one of the bucket list.  Mom had taken us to a show.  The Tragically Hip.  Brody. Mom. Me. Empty seat.  Just as we sat in my dream.  Beside me was probably the only empty seat in the first two levels of Rexall Place.  I thought nothing of it. Great, more space.  The show went on. Few songs in…”Pigeon Camera”  My favorite Hip song.  I didn’t expect to hear this one, not realizing he was going to play the entire FullyCompletely album.

Over there that’s my room
And that’s my sister’s
And that’s my sister
With something we could no longer contain

At that very moment, it hit me.   That dream came back to my mind, as vivid as ever.  I glanced over, and realized.. Brody, Mom, Me… Just how we sat in my dream.  Then, the empty seat beside me… Jen.  She was there.  Right beside me.  Pretty well the only empty seat in the building.  I started to laugh.  Couldn’t believe it.

My dream had come true


As I drove through the night, and early morning hours of this morning heading home, I was absolutely just gleaming.  I had my iPod playing, on shuffle… I have about 700 songs or so on this iPod.  You know when you have the shuffle going, you really always quietly hope to hear a couple different songs, then they never come on, so you get frustrated and then just search for it.  Well, I was really hoping for this one particular Yelawolf song…  Sure enough, two songs later.  Write Your Name.  I kinda laughed to myself, thought, ha thanks Jen!

Then, nearing Calgary, I thought… Ah, I really hope I get to hear The Year the Summer Ended in June before I get home.   Not three minutes later.  Yep.  I was stunned, butterflies.  I couldn’t stop myself from giggling, and shaking my head.  Here it was 2:30 in the morning.  I’d been awake for 20 hours straight.  Drove to Edmonton and back… and I all I wanted was for this night to continue on forever.  I have never felt Jen’s presence so much.  I could almost see, and hear her.  It was seriously, a dream come true.

For the last six years, all I’ve wished for is a chance to go back, and spend more time with Jen, do things with her I hadn’t done when the opportunity was there.  Nights where I’ve laid in bed screaming for a chance to go back.   Moments where I’ve wished myself sick, and sore.  It was as if I were to squeeze hard enough, I could go back.  Could go back and spend time with her, and share those moments that we’ve missed out on.  Moments like last night.  With everyone.

And last night, It just happened…


February 12, 2015 will go down as one of the most memorable nights of my life.  Thank you to those who were apart of it.  Mom, for taking us.  Brody for coming, and sharing tonight.  I was thrilled when I heard you were coming.  I had no idea.  And Kyle, for sharing some of your evening with us, and planning dinner, and meeting us.

I always laugh when people say this, and consider it to be so cheesy, and ya ya whatever.. but, everything really was aligned last night, just right.

Truly, one of the greatest evenings of my life.

Thank you.

Love, B

Lifetraps – Unrelenting Standards & Failure – Mind Your Mind

Uncategorized

I have really enjoyed writing for Mind Your Mind in the few short weeks I have.  Each week they’ll send out an array of engaging topics, and I go from there.

Last week, I chose to write about the unrelenting standards, and failure lifetraps!  Take a read here, and check some of the other pieces on Mind Your Mind!  It’s a great program, and great site!

 

http://mindyourmind.ca/expression/blog/lifetraps-unrelenting-standards-failure

 

 

Lighter Side of GAB / Hilarious Avenues to GoneAwayBoys.

Uncategorized

I’ve always been intrigued by the stats section wordpress makes available to it’s bloggers. I can find information on how many views my blog, or posts receive, where readers are from, clicks, and my favorite stat of well…. Search Engine Terms.

Here I come across some of the weirdest, creepiest, scariest, funniest searches that people type in where they ultimately land on my page, and I use those adjectives as strongly as I possibly can. I’ve always thought to share some of these searches, the funny ones of course, which would be a dramatic change of pace from most of my entries, but I have never gotten around to it. Well, before google encrypts all users google search so that this entire section becomes null.

I don’t know what search engine these people are using, but I think there is real comic gold to be had in other peoples search history. Mine, probably not so much. Thankfully Mozilla has the Incognito Window bandit that I utilize often, but some of these things people are searching…. Well, I can’t even fathom.

Get ready for this one! – I will share with you my top 28, some are downright hilarious, odd, and some are extremely disturbing! And these are just the ones I am comfortable writing knowing some of the audience reading this blog.

Here we go!

1.  I got lots of beer in vegreville lets fuck

  • How the hell does this take someone to my blog that’s about my life against mental illness.
  • When this person searched this, what were they looking for??…
  • I really hope this wasn’t one of my buddies

2. How to fuck movie health education

  • Again, how does this lead someone to my site, and what the heck was this person hoping they’d find.
  • This person’s parents reaaaallly dropped the ball.

3. acaramelpuss.com

  • Ok… I have to be honest, after seeing this one and thinking WTF. I went directly to my friend bandit in incognito window, and typed this into the url address. Don’t judge. It could have very well been one of those secret menu drinks at Starbucks. …. no? 
  • You just typed it in too…  

4. Nen Shi Ran

  • Who?

5. Good reasons to listen to garth brooks

  • Seriously? This is probably the same person as #2.

 

 


 

*** This next one is a little disturbing, but it’s a real wtf head scratcher.


6. my neigbour shot 3of my golden retrievers @ night killing my female, while I was down my driveway calling them, in alberta

  • What kind of neighbor do you have lou? Maybe call the police instead of searching your story on google…

7. Naheed Fucking

  • This is disgusting. Who in the eff is googling a porn of our mayor? I assume that’s what this is, anyways. Redford. Pig.

8. did lane frost have an impact on the pbr

  • Lane Frost is a hero. Of course he did.

9. brother fuck 4.5.7year old girl fuck.com

  • I am disturbed that this even somehow led someone to my blog, and I hope they’ve dramatically changed their lives since. This is disgusting on so many levels.  

10. nenshi annoying

  • Apparently the person looking for him fucking couldn’t find that mayoral porn,  and just got fed up. Ugh Nenshi!

11. not sure who this girl bell is and why everyone wants to talk to her #bellletstalk

  • … Ugh, Seriously? 

12. that moment when your sister makes hot chocolate

  • That’s a moment?

13. talk to sluts for free in Calgary

  • HOW DOES SOMEONE LAND ON MY PAGE AFTER SEARCHING THIS SHIT!!!@!@!!!
  • Anyway…  Head to the back alley buddy.  Good luck! 

14. delcam powershape hell grading

  • What?

15. my sisters hot pajama

  • Again. What? That hot chocolate moment?? 

16. if you get cut from the echl should you give up

  • No, but if you’re googling this.. you should get off the internet.

17. how to make bcmml 

  • I don’t think making a midget aaa team is something you can really do on WikiHow.

18. don’t judge me yolo underage

  • too late kid

19. mental health issues of children growing up in 4000 square foot homes

  • I can just see the snobby mom googling this one. Her kid struggles from depression BECAUSE their home is 4000 SQ ft. Not 3580 SQ ft. AND, his treatment, therapy, and everything else will be completely different that those of us who grew up in a 2600 SQ Ft home. Mental health is now being measured by the square footage of where you grew up. You Jackass.

20. pajama hot sister

  • Ok.  This guy is weird already.  ‘Muricans.  

21. Edson slo pitch sex

  • Haha. Ah. Another beaut. Don’t even know where to go with this one.  The possibilities are endless. 

22. xxx much faking com

  • this persons first time on a computer looking for titties I’d say.

23. fuckingfeelsgood

  • What does? … Wait … What? … Ohhhhhh

24. as long as your nasty as a mother fucker

  • And then what? Who googles this, what are they hoping the results are!!!

25. fucked guy vegreville

  • Ahhh, again… the possibilites!! 

26. myfight fuckeng

  • what?

27. nasty moms we would like to fuck

  • I probably shouldn’t have shared this one, but again wtf. Learn how to filter categories on your porn sites buddy.

28. blowjob on Christmas day Calgary

  • Either atta boy! Or…. Shame on you if you’re looking for a specific business.

 

There you have it! The top 28 hilarious, most WTF search terms people have used that somehow eventually landed them on my site. Some search engines won’t reveal search engine terms, so they come up unknown on wordpress, and there are 296 unknown terms… So I can just imagine all of the further beauty in that list of nearly 300.

Now let’s get serious… Though I’ve listed the top 28 funny search terms, there are some that are just pretty odd, and some very disturbing, as I’ve shared a few. There are some that make you just want to throw up, some that make you want to cry in disbelief, some that just complete shock me, and others I just have no words for, and am ashamed I live in the same planet as the person who typed that thought in.   Then,  the majority are just lots of people just searching me, my sisters name, my parents name, my brothers name… These ones kinda freak me out, but I can only assume the goal of these searches is to land where they do, unlike the goals of our top 28 here. Hopefully when they landed, they stayed awhile.

Lets hope google never privatizes all search information, cause I seriously enjoy this part of wordpress stats, and if you are the one looking for mayoral porn, or whatever weird thing… I still appreciate you visiting goneawayboys! 

I’m off to Caaallli! 

Cheers.  

B

Remember When We Were Young…

Uncategorized

It’s been awhile.  A long while, but a good one.  I can’t recall last time I wrote here.  But, whenever it was last, things have gotten a lot better for me.  In the summer, I began going weekly to a therapist to just talk, this has never worked for me in the past trying this experience, but for whatever reason, this time it’s been great.  It’s been more than just me talking and the stranger across the room writing down notes about how nuts I am according to the books they’ve studied in school.  She listens.  Doesn’t judge.  Isn’t arrogant like the rest of them.  And, we work on things, we do different activities to help with what is dehabilitating to me, and it’s working.  I think that in addition to some other contributing things,  my life seem’s to be getting back on track.  My last session with my doctor, she asked me since you’ve been coming here in the summer, if there was one word you could use to describe your life now, that you would have never said then… What would it be.  It didn’t take me long to come up with the answer.  Easier.  Everything just seems easier, even when things are bad, dealing is just easier.  Easy & Yellow.  I don’t know yellow.  Just a color that comes to mind, things are brighter.  In the past… When I would think about my life, the only colors I’d ever see were dark grey, black and navy.  Now, Its vibrant colors.    And, to further prove that things have been getting better…  It’s now May 4th, and I have just now been hit by the fact that it’s May 4th.

For anyone who has followed this blog, or knows me well enough… Spring is the most difficult time of the year.  I am very short tempered, very standoff-ish, alone, very, very, very sad, disorientated sometimes and likely extremely difficult to deal with.  Usually these things will come and go for me from April till May 7th, and even a few days after.  May 7th.  The day my sister took her life, and my life, all of our lives forever changed.

This year has been different, I sauntered through April without any problems.  I knew this week was coming, but it didn’t take me long to shake it off, and look at it as a day we celebrate Jen’s life, and our memories together. It even sometimes brought a smile to my face.  There were times I almost felt guilty that I wasn’t being crushed by the approaching day.  Had I gotten over it? Had I moved on?  I hope not… What does this mean?  Often times, it was confusing… but, it wasn’t hurting, So I kept on.  …Till this weekend, I started thinking about it more, and more. What am I going to do? Go home? Spend time with family? friends? Or, stay in Calgary, spend it with Amanda? Friends? What the hell do I do…. Or, do I just begin to treat it like any other day. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Eat. Watch Playoffs. Go to Hockey. Come Home. Go to Bed & Repeat.  Because, at some point in my life.  I will need to treat May 7th like just another day, because unfortunately, though I feel like it should, and I feel like it sometimes does.  The world does not stop on May 7th, for me or my family. It continues going. People go to work. Business is done as it is any other day.  Maybe I should just join back in, and not make a big deal out of Wednesday.  Maybe then I will get through the day, I’ll be busy, and I’ll forget.  I’ve began thinking about so many different scenarios, and possibilities about Wednesday. I’ve beyond worked myself up about it, once again… Though at least, on the bright side I suppose it’s only five days in advance I’ve done this, instead of 6-8 weeks like the previous years.  Well, as you can imagine… I came to no conclusion. I’d think long and hard about what to do, and then I’d begin to get standoff-ish, cold, irritated and difficult to be around so I’d try and shake myself.  And, again I was able to snap myself out of it and get back to reality.  Wondering if it was really going to be this easy this year.  I really hadn’t lost it, or completely fallen apart yet.  Was I going to survive this time? Or, am I getting blindsided somewhere soon.

Then today…I don’t know why today.  I woke up, I felt good, I even had a great sleep, and slept in. I was even going to leave to leave the house and go get groceries, which, was a feat considering the last week or so, only time I leave the house is for work, or hockey.  Anyway.  The morning continued on as any other…  I had brunch, sat down watched some VICE, talked to mom and then a buddy about planning a little boys weekend this summer in Sylvan Lake…   Ironically, the exact same thing I was doing the afternoon I found out Jen had passed away, with the same person.  Though, at the time I, of course thought nothing of it. I was excited. Great Sunday ahead. Finished off my episode of VICE, set the PVR for the Hawks/Minny game and set out to Save on Foods! What a day.

For whatever reason.. As I parked, and was leaving my truck, I thought hey, let’s take my iPod and headphones while I cruise the aisles.  Great idea.  I actually enjoy the monthly trip to the grocery store, I am a fantastic grocery shopper. I buy all the fantastic shit Amanda won’t buy.  The kebobs, the shrimp, the lobster tails, the salmon, the beef jerky, the cool labelled  BBQ sauce, funky pizzas… Cool stuff.  So, early on I was having a blast… Take out my earphones to grab a couple spolumbos and kebobs from the deli fella… And, boom.  Now I know exactly why I brought my headphones in.  One of my worst fears was on the speaker. There are a few songs I absolutely can not and will not listen to unless on my own terms.  I will do anything I can to remove myself from wherever these selects beats are going.  Wild Horses. Adia. Angel & the one playing…  I Hope You Can Dance – LeeAnn Womack.   Ah, fuck. First though that came to mind…  Why in the hell would they play this song at a grocery store… I would bet my life, there is not a single person who enjoys listening to that song, or is happy listening to that song. No. It’s fucking devastating.  Thank God, I had my headphones. I threw them back on, grabbed my kebobs and got the hell out of there as if the deli man was the one trying to break me with that song.  No way.  You won’t do this deli man! And, I literally sprinted away from the deli counter and down a different aisle.  Fortunately no one was really around to see this.  So I parked the cart.  Took a few deep breaths, turned up my music and tried to carry on.  I could feel my stomach start to twist, my throat swell up, and my hands start to tremble. I stopped again and had a little chat with myself…

“No… You’re fine kid. Not here.  You can’t here! We only have 3 things on this grocery list, and have only gone down 1 aisle, and you’ve ran down one so we’ll need to cruise again to grab bacon bits… Settle down… Deep breaths… 1….2…..3…. We’re alright. We’ve made it this far. Don’t break.  1….2….3….  Ok, I’m good”  I think.  Pfew.

I took out my phone to make it look like I was waiting on someone, or looking for something so I was less of a spectacle for those passing by.  And, All I got out of looking at my phone.  May 4th.  3 more days. Fuck.  My hands started to tremble a lit more.  My stomach knotted a little tighter.  Breathing was a little more difficult.  I was losing it.  I could feel myself starting to tip over the edge. It had hit me.  It’s 3 days away.  Thoughts of Jen started racing through my head.  Memories of her, and then What was Jen feeling like May 4th, 2008.   Was she grocery shopping?  Was life normal?  What was she doing?  How was she feeling? Were there any signs of what was coming? Did she know what was coming? Can I go back and stop this? Can I stop her? No. It’s too late. I am 6 years too late.  Why did this happen. Why is THIS happening. Why am I here. In the middle of Save on Fucking Foods and I am losing it.  I am losing it. Yep. We’re losing it.  I’m  a mess.  What the hell do I do now.  Do I leave? Do I quit? No. We have no groceries, and I’ll have to just come back anyways.  Soldier on Kid. Come on.   So I tried.  Each aisle was harder than the last.  I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t read what the hell was on the list and then remember what it was by the time I stopped looking at it. I even caught myself going down the same aisles multiple times.  Just circling them.  Taking laps aimlessly.  A complete zombie with a grocery cart.  I looked down and avoided eye contact with anyone.  I thought maybe they’ll see my weakness, see that I am losing it right now, laugh at me, think I am a nut.  It was humiliating.   I couldn’t believe this was happening.  Here. Right now.  Really? I just needed to get home.  I did the best I could getting all I needed, and getting the hell out of there.  Usually, I’ll peruse slowly all the aisles and like I said, grab the coolest things.  Not today.  Just get me out there.  Going through the cashier, my hands continued to tremble, my lip quivering, I felt cold, weak, shaky, I was quiet, impatient and avoidant.  I was falling apart at the seams.  The poor cashier.  She was doing a great job, but had I not felt so weak and powerless, I would have just scanned the damn things myself, ripped them out of her hands threw it all in my cart, yelled thank you and darted out of the store as fast I could.  But, I felt far too weak.  So I stood there. Staring into lost space.  Three times she had to ask me Save on Foods points, or gift card?  What? Huh? Me? Oh… Points please.  I could tell the family behind me was getting frustrated with me.  Or, maybe they were just creeped out that when I was staring into space they were in line of my dead gaze.  Finally, I was on my way out.  I was trying my best to run to my truck but I could hardly get myself to move.  My legs felt horribly weak.  I honestly thought I was going to fall over.  I had to lean on my cart as I pushed it to my truck.  And, of course.  I parked at the very back of the parking lot.  Remember… An hour ago, I was feeling great! …  I unloaded everything into truck as fast I could.  I raced to the cart stable, and threw my cart back.  Good Riddance to you, I’m safe! .. Get into my truck, annnnndddd….Nope.  All throughout the last hour I thought I was really falling apart.  The second my head hit the back of my seat.  I had fallen apart.  That was it.  I lost it.  Uncontrollably.  As bad as I can remember.  I didn’t even notice if there were people beside me.  I thought the world had stopped, and it was just me.  It had to have been just me.  Everything kind of went blank, and dark.  Few moments later… Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a family parked two spots down from me, who probably saw this entire debacle of mine.  And thought, what the hell… why are they parked there!  I began to get frustrated, why are you judging me you don’t know what’s going on, Human!   Then I thought same with that family at the till that was clearly getting frustrated with my dead gaze, and my inability to pay attention.  You don’t know what’s going on.  Why are you even here! Isn’t the world stopping.  Leave me alone, judging humans!

On a separate note, I often wish that you could just stick a sign on your back with small details of your story so others could understand why you are maybe struggling, or a little off today.  I think this would be great only if people couldn’t speak, were unable to judge, and WE ALL had these signs.   On normal days, I find the same thing with myself.  I get frustrated with people, all the time…. but, I often forget to think, maybe there is a reason there are out in space today.  Everyone has their problems, and their own story.  It may not be very different than mine.  I don’t know.  That’s why we should all have these signs! …Had I been another person in the grocery store today and came upon myself the way I was… I would have ran my cart head on into myself.  Wake the fuck up, or go home.  If you can’t handle reality today.  Don’t be in it. But, today I was really that person.  I needed the sign.  Don’t kick me. Please.  I am already down.

I could not get home fast enough.  Thankfully I only live a short way away from the grocery store, because surely I was not in any condition to be driving at the moment.  I was driving just as I were walking, and cruising the grocery store.  Just lost.  Empty. Blank.  I can remember driving out of the parking lot, but I don’t remember the rest of the drive.  Even thinking back now and it was only a couple hours ago. I remember leaving the Save on Foods parking lot… I remember parking my truck at home.  The in-between.  No idea.  Poof.  I had landed at home.

Never ever have I been so relieved to get home, have a drink of water and just breathe.  I felt like I had just gone through a marathon.  Maybe I had…  A mental one albeit.


Now that i’ve somewhat pieced together all that had fallen apart awhile ago, I still continue to be held together by a thread, and I imagine I will for the next week.  Standoff-ish.  Avoidant. Cold. Irratible. Impatient. Empty. Blank. Zombie.   It’s the most difficult week of the year for me, and for my entire family, for obvious reasons.  I really thought this year was going to be different, and it was going to be easier.  but, I suppose it’s not going to be.  I am more confident in my ability to get through the days alive, I wasn’t so much in past years.  I know I will get through this year.  But, beginning this morning, apparently… this is and will be the longest week, these will be the longest, hardest and darkest days.  Even as I sit here and write this on a Sunday afternoon… My hands are shaky, My attentiveness is limited, My body feels weak, I feel sick, my stomach feels knotted, and empty.  I feel like something has been lost, like something is missing. Something is missing.


We lost Jen on May 7th, 2008.  That’s a long time ago.  But, for me it seems like it was only last week.  It seems like only this winter I had visited them in Victoria we hung out, walking along the pier in Sidney, arguing about Hockey Vs. Basketball, playing playmobil, trading CDs.  Talking about our lives when we grew up, and what they would be like.  Never did we say they would be like this.  Never did we say that I’d be sitting here one sunday afternoon writing, and weeping about the very moment we are sharing.  I never ever thought about that.  Never.  She talked about having a family, and what she was going to name her kids, and I thought they were the worst names ever.  I talked about hockey.  Everything about it.  We talked about going to Hornby Island.  When we played playmobil when we were young, we had a huge island piece that we often pretended was Hornby Island.  We talked about all kinds of things.  Hell, we even fought, and we argued about all kinds of things too.  But, we never stayed mad at each other for so long.  I looked up to her like I’ve never looked up to anyone in my life.  She was my hero.  I wanted to be just like her.  I didn’t know at the time she was fighting her own monsters the way she was.  But, looking back now, I applaud her for the strength she had going on, and she did a darn good job of soldiering on.  She did such an amazing job of never letting the way she felt inside, effect the way she treated others.  At least around me, and my brother.  I never knew she was that hurt. I was young, and naive but I always thought she was happy, she had fun, she was popular, had lots of friends.  I can remember her having parties in Victoria, and I so badly wanted to be apart of them. I so badly wanted to be friends with her friends.  Looking back now… I was that really annoying little brother that wouldn’t go away, and wouldn’t leave his big sister alone.  But, she was always so patient, kind, and nurturing.  She’d introduce me to her friends, all these girlfriends of hers that I fell in love with instantly.  I can remember everything.  I can remember thinking I can’t wait to be Jen’s age and have friends like her, and have fun like she has.  I just didn’t know she was hurting so bad inside.  I wish I had, maybe I could have helped. Maybe I could have done something.  Maybe I did help. I don’t know. But, maybe there was more I could do so that we could still share those same memories, and instead of me writing about them, telling them to all the strangers on the internet who will read this… I could call her, hey! remember that time Jen… Haha, yea. I’m sorry I was such a turd.

But… Now we are where we are, and these are only just memories, memories that I have, and the only ones that I have.  We can’t create anymore.  There are only these.  That’s the hardest part sometimes.  These images in my mind, are all that I have left.  I wish I could just hear her voice. I forget what she sounded like.  I forget her laugh.  Sometimes I have dreams with her in them, and I can remember.  Dreams where she is happy. She is laughing, smiling, and at peace.  I think this is her telling me she is okay now, she isn’t fighting anymore, and that we’re ok to let go and be happy ourselves.  We have too.


If you were lucky enough to know my sister, this week is likely equally shitty for you too… and, I know I say this every year, and it’s easy to say this and a lot harder to do… But, try and let go of the sadness this week.  Think about her.  Talk to her.  But do so with a smile,  and a laugh. Not a bunch of tears.  Grab yourself a Stella, or a case of them.  For each one you have… Tell a story you remember about Jen, or something about her you remember.   Even if you are by yourself, or with a group of friends, even a group of friends who didn’t know Jen.  Tell them a story about her.  Hell, even send me a story about her, or a memory you have.

Send me an email b.lystang@hotmail.com, or text me  any memories you have of her.  403 808 3321.

It will help me get through the week.  And, it will be something we can all keep and put together for Abbey.

Even if you didn’t know Jen, wherever you are, whatever you do on Wednesday.  Have a drink, and please, toast to my sister.   Thank you.

 


 

 

I miss you so much Jen.  I love you.

 

 

John Galts Speech

Uncategorized

It’s been months since I’ve wrote something in this blog outside of a minor entry several weeks back ripping into the few evil hockey parents.  I think about it every day, but I just can’t bring myself to write anything.  I can’t find it.  This week, I’ve had a few people reach out to me telling me to get back to writing, that it helps them.  One person told me they dreamt about my writing, and asked if I could start again soon.  Another asked me when the next piece was coming.  Another person asked to meet with me about my experiences fighting with my life.  I had another friend tell me I need to start writing again, to save my life, and to help save his.  I have all these amazing people around me that look forward to reading goneawayboys, and that thoroughly seem to enjoy my writing, and are always applauding me for it…  Yet, I have a hard time believing in it myself, and finding that quality and that safety to it.  I just write.  It’s amazing, and humbling to know that some people find great value in reading this blog, and for those of you, I am very sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you through this blog.  I just needed some time to piece myself back together the last little while after nearly losing it.  Thank you, as always for your overwhelming support.

In the past I’ve said that I often will only write when I feel down, amidst a lull, when I need a boost.  On the flip side, I didn’t feel the need to write when things were going well.  That’s what I used to believe, anyways.  I’m coming to the realization that, that is just complete and utter bullshit.  I don’t write because I don’t want to do anything, except keep to my withdrawn self.  I don’t write because I feel like I don’t have the mental wherewithal to put anything of magnitude together. I feel tired. Weak. Exhausted. Scared. Withdrawn. Empty. Lost.  I don’t write because… because I am feeling depressed.

Why? Why am I depressed? Well, I don’t know that answer as much as I would like too.  Simple question, right? … I think I often lack the things that should create, and attribute to personal happiness.  Or maybe I haven’t made the choice to find happiness yet? I don’t know what happiness really means? Or, maybe it’s because my family has a history of mental disorders? Or, it’s just the hamster wheel running dangerously low on serotonin for the last fucking decade or so!  Simple Question… Yes, but complicated answer that I just haven’t quite figured out yet, and I don’t know that I ever will… If it were easy, I’d be able to solve this problem, because trust me when I feel like this, I don’t want too….  But, I feel like I sometimes have no control of it, I can only try to contain.

I’ve made myself believe that I only write when I need a lift, when things are going to shit.  That’s false.  I write when I am feeling better, when I have that drive, that energy, I write when I feel like I can help make a difference in not only myself, but maybe someone else.  I write when I give a shit about someone other than my own self, and their own demons.  I write when I feel like a human being.  I write when I feel.

I can’t write when I can’t seem to find myself outside of the fucking pits, when I don’t care about really anything, or anyone’s feelings other than my own, and I hardly care about my own.  I just succumb to my depression.  It’s like being back into a corner, with someone you know you can fight with a little bit of effort, but you just can’t find it in yourself… you back into the corner, and your stuck.  Out of batteries.  Out of juice. On empty.  It’s almost impossible to get out, or so it seems at times, at the worst of times.  I can’t write and be honest with you, when I am not honest with myself.  When I asked myself if I knew what things attributed to my happiness really were, to be frank… I have no idea what they are.  I drew a blank.   This blog, writing, having people read it, the reaction, the comments, the feedback, hell, the fucking pats on the back.  That’s happiness for me.  That’s it. That truly is it. Making a difference. The one thing.

“Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”

 Writing in goneawayboys and posting it publicly is that joy without penalty, the achievement; it’s what happiness really is for me.  The scary part is…  The only thing that truly defines happiness for me right now is…Writing… What…  Really…

When I am feeling at my worst, I become very elusive with others, and especially to myself.  I can’t find, or come to terms with what creates happiness for myself.  I know that it is writing, but when I am feeling empty, and disengaged, I can’t find that… even though I know, if I just get off the couch and turn on some music, read something, I’ll feel inspired and I’ll write something, and in turn, I find happiness.  Even if for a moment.  When you suffer from depression, you learn to take as many moments of happiness as you absolutely can.  Because, not often can I find them.

My best friend wrote to me in an email earlier this week something I have been replaying over and over in my head… Happiness is a Choice… At first I read it, and thought, ok, Well, I cho-cho-choose to be happy! … And it was as if I waited for some animated vortex to appear in the middle of the hallway and throw me a bag with happiness inside… When that didn’t happen, I waited for the genie to pop out of my Booster Juice and graciously grant me 3 wishes.  After waiting several long hours, I realized neither of these things were going to happen, and I went to bed disagreeing with Mother.  Happiness is not a choice.  It’s subjective.  It’s fake.  I woke up, still pondering that same comment, then that led to me questioning myself of what happiness really is, what does it really mean.  In school, in all those life management, and leadership classes we were always asked what success meant, and everyone had a different answer.  But, no one ever asked the question.  What IS happiness?  By definition, it’s the quality, or state of being happy.  Ok. Great. So what does that mean, how I do just be happy.  It sounds so simple. Why can’t I find it? Why can’t we find it all the time? What am I missing here? Happy by definition is the feeling of satisfaction, pleasure and contentment.  Sounds easy, but a feeling? Is a feeling permanent? Or, is this just a temporary relief from all things negative? I want to make the choice to be happy starting now ending when I die.  Not just for the next 20 minutes.  But, what creates this feeling… Money? Family?  Friends? Materialistic things? Fancy cars? Fancy jewelry? Mansion? Strength?  Self-image? It is what your friends have? Is it what Hollywood has? Is it whatever doesn’t kill us? Is it gratitude? Is it a fucking Choice?

Intrigued by this “Happiness is a Choice” … I dug a little bit further into what happiness really means outside of these wildly simplistic and vague definitions the internet has explained to me.  I read the “John Galts Speech” an excerpt from Ayn Rands “Shrugged Atlas” (Ok, I read most of it… It’s 43 pages in size 12 font)  Ayn Rand, Or John Galt the fictional character describes happiness as coming down to the choice of being either a rational man, or an irrational man.

“Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power… Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”

“The emotional state of all those irrationalists cannot be properly designated as happiness or even as pleasure: it is merely a moment’s relief from their chronic state of terror… But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he lives as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.”

I often find myself looking for a time machine; I want to fast-forward my life 10 years. I said the same thing when I was 14, and I’ll bet I’ll say the same damn thing when I’m 34, and 44.  I have a very hard time finding my own acceptance, and contentment. Galts Speech depicts happiness perfectly for me, it’s not about materials, and it’s not about money.  I’m frequently thinking if I just had more money, if I just had more materials, more muscles and supermodel physiques, I could finally be happy.  I’ve convinced myself I need to be wildly successful to have my family members be proud of me, for me to accept myself, and to otherwise simply avoid being a failure.  If I could accomplish this… I would achieve my personal expectations, but these expectations are completely irrational and I know that… But, I make the choice to believe they are rational because well, it happened to that guy. You shouldn’t need cars, a big house, and fame or widespread success to achieve happiness.  It doesn’t help the people that have all those things either; they always want something more, something is always missing, something irrational.  Thus, when you are unable to achieve these irrational goals, and expectations as soon as you believe you should… It’s a temporary relief of terror, and the torture of frustration pursues.   Often times, that is all I can find.  I dwell on myself constantly, beating myself up about why I am not doing better for myself.  I’m 24 years old.  I have pretty well anything you could ever ask for, but always for me it is never enough.  It’s a trap.  I always want more.  I got a good job, I want a better one now.  I have a nice truck. I want a nicer car now. My family says they are proud of me. But, I can never believe them because I am not proud of myself.  I’ll never know if Jen is proud of me. I’ll never ever know that. Ever. Yet, I feel like I need to know that to be happy.  I’ll never know.   It’s unrealistic, It’s irrational. It’s mindless fraud and torture.  This is why I fight find consistent happiness.  I struggle to create rational goals for myself, goals that are attainable that result in joy, joy without penalty or guilt.   Writing in goneawayboys is often the one rational goal that I have for myself that I am able to achieve multiple times.  I am able to use my mind to the fullest of power, not escape from my mind for temporary relief.

This is happiness.  In order to find constant happiness for myself, I need to become more honest and rational to my self.  Going back to the very beginning of this post where I used to tell myself I’d only write when I felt like shit.  No.  I don’t write when I feel like shit because I can’t.  Otherwise, I’ll continue to be an irrational man, and be tortured by frustration, and destruction.

Mom was right; Happiness is a choice.  

“Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”

A Nasty, Nasty Lesson From Mother Nature.

Uncategorized

Honey! I’m Home!!!

Damn, that fucking feels good to say.

For those of you that missed it…  I guess, well, I don’t know where to start with you.  But, I hope your summers have been less dramatic & eventful than ours have been.

June 19th… I was sitting in my chair I always lounge in, Amanda on the couch & we were watching some TV show.  Meanwhile, Calgary was under complete torrential downpour like nothing I have ever seen.  While scanning twitter, and the news stations, I continued to read about this massive storm we were being hit with. Unconcerned as always having lived in Calgary long enough to know it’s summer and this is our every day. Storm warning. Storm warning.  I can remember reading a tweet from someone to CTV Weather Man – Paul Dunphy that said something along the lines of “Are we going to be okay in Calgary?”  Well…  My arrogant self had a blast with this one!  I think I replied something slightly abrasive along the lines of OMG NO! ANOTHER SUPERSTORM I THINK WE ARE COMPLETELY DOOMED! BOOM!…

… I thought I was being sarcastic at the time, and she was being a tad overzealous about another storm.

Well, fast-forward about 12 hours. At work I see on Twitter suddenly my community of Discovery Ridge is to be immediately evacuated.  Umm. Pardon?  No one really saw of what was about to come…coming. Evidently.  And it didn’t sink into to me immediately what was going on either.  I called my girlfriend who was at home, and she was completely blindsided by this as well. “I just took Kona out, it’s dry, we’re fine, it’s sunny here” … I’m more confused now! So, I got up from my desk at work and oddly somewhat boasted about us being evacuated, thought, hey cool maybe I get to go home early this Thursday.  Still, completely ignorant to what was truly about to occur.

So, I sauntered out of the office a few conversations later, headed home and sent a few sarcastic snaps to my friends about being evacuated. Chalk about reason for mother nature to completely fuck me. You’d think maybe this was the end of my ignorance?

Nope.  

Got home, and it was weird. There was a mile long line of cars heading into our community, but as I was already 20 minutes past evacuation time, I thought I was above all the other people racing home to get their shit and prepare for the Armageddon that I went right to the lights in the straight lane, turned on the left light, and vroom off I went.  See ya Lexus. Down the hill in Discovery Ridge, people were walking their dogs, laughing, stopping to chat with friends, others were in a complete fucking frenzy to get stuff jammed into their Mercedes.  I was still pretty cool.  I saw nothing to fret about.  Despite ravishing flood warnings.  However, As many Calgarians can likely attest too… This became a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” story. Every day nearly, every summer is “severe thunderstorm warning” “tornado watch” … etc. And, of course it’s never more then a storm.  Why should this be any different?  Other than I guess all surrounding communities had already been flooded, and this happened 8 years previous.  But… Nonetheless.  Parked the F150 underground. Take the elevator up. Come home. Turn on the TV. Make a few more jokes about this evacuation, and then declare that I’m content until I am told by someone “official” at our door we have to go.  As if the radio, social media and disgruntled megaphone warnings weren’t enough. Well, a pizza, a beer or 2, and a couple cycles of sportscenter later… My life completely changed.  Forever.

“YOU HAVE 5 MINUTES TO GET YOUR STUFF AND GET OUT OF HERE NOW! THE PARKADES ARE ALREADY FLOODING, THE PARKADE ACROSS IS ALREADY FLOODED 8 FEET”

Ummm… Fuck. I haven’t even really packed anything.  Shit.

Thankfully, Amanda as always was completely ready to go for this and had everything including the animals set up for instant departure. Not me. I had 5 minutes.  Fortunately, I am guy so it was ok. I made it down the stairs in time.  Got into my truck. And poof. Yep. The manhole cover had just popped off and water started coming in.

We made it out.  And I couldn’t believe the scene.  Water. Mud. Muddy Water. People. People Crying. Mobs of People. Cameras. Phones. Screaming. Ambulance. Police. Semi’s. Industrial Trucks. Security. Firemen. Vehicles. Water. Mud. Muddy Water… Devastation.

Image

Image

… What is happening?  I had to park, get out and try and take in what was happening.  Guards were blocking the flooded parkade so people didn’t try going in. And you could just hear the water roaring, and I mean roaring. Combined with people screaming, and people crying. It was really incomprehensible what was happening.  I never want to hear those sounds again.

It took my about a half an hour to actually get out of Discovery Ridge.  If anyone has ever been fortunate enough to make it into Discovery Ridge, consider yourself a lucky one. It’s one of the most beautiful residential communities in the world. I can guarantee. Rarely do you ever see more then 5-6 cars moving at once. You see more bikes, more kids, families walking, and more dogs. It’s a very small, very active community. Well, There may have been 500 vehicles in Discovery Ridge when I finally left. People leaving and just parking along the street watching from the top of the hill. People from nearby coming in just to see what all the fuss is about. It was unbelievable.  And still. Some people remained calm. Some in small groups, laughing, almost normal.  Others looked afraid. Others completely hysterical. Others, like myself looked empty. Stund. Dumbfounded. 

We decided to drive back home to Vegreville and spend the weekend with family as we were told minimum 72 hours.  I didn’t think it’d be much more then this if even 72 hours. I can remember saying to a few buddies, ah yea 72 I think is just worst case.  Again. My arrogance. Strike 6? I drove the entire way home to Veg. 400-Ish KMs. Stayed with my Mom & Brother.  And still, it hadn’t really hit me what was going on.  By this point numerous communities were evacuated and the flood had ravished further, and devastated more.  I started to see the clippings on the news, and I grew sick. Nauseous. It was the feeling you get in your stomach when you’re just completely hung-over, and/or completely starving.  I almost threw up numerous times.  But, alike my normal self. I try to put up this stoic guard to show that I am doing fine.

…. I went to bed. Cried. I was scared. I didn’t know what the hell was going to happen. It didn’t seem real. I mean, a flood? Can this much damage happen from a flood? We’re on the fourth floor? We should be home soon right?

… I’m fine.

Fast-forward a few days. I stayed at one of my best friend’s parents place in Edmonton with his brother.  They were just completely awesome about taking me in. Just like my mom and brother were back home.  Fed me a great meal, gave me a great big bed to sleep in.  I’ve probably stayed over at the Cote’s house 2,000 times though growing up.  So this was nothing out of the norm for them other than the circumstances. (Thank you Kelly, Dean & Tarin) … Brett… Starbucks next time.

Nonetheless.  Sunday morning I woke up and saw that the community of Discovery Ridge had been restored of power & water.  Woooohoooo!! Off I went home. 8am. Going home! I knew this wouldn’t be so bad. 

I got home… I was wrong.  The parkades were still completely flooded. Garbage everywhere. The smell. Ugh. Can’t even explain.

A few days went by. My mom’s boyfriend (still ew) came with his vac trucks and started sucking out water at 11:30 on the Sunday night and he then his team must have went 40+ hours on their own helping us get back home. It was amazing. No one told him to come and do this. No one even really came and thanked him, or spoke to him from a condo management level.  The residents of Wedgewoods were phenomenal. Filled him up with cases and cases of beer, more and more food. It was pretty cool to see. But, nothing from our supposed leaders.  Beforehand, I tried to register him as a volunteer and no one would reply, or get back to me. Understandable that they were likely completely swamped with other areas.  But, our condo building kind of became lost in the shuffle for a few days.  Thankfully Alan and his team came out to do what they did.  And, still they’ve received no recognition.  All the updates from the alderman, condo board, and property managers say it was the group they hired to remove the water.  No. It wasn’t. But, anyway. Thank you Alan & RVI Vac Trucks.

A few days turned into a few more days and we still had no place to really go, and no answers. We snuck a few nights into our condo anyway. Despite no water nor power. We just had nowhere to go. Hotels were completely booked. Finally we got into one. They had ONE room left for ONE night. The disability room. Almost felt bad taking it… But, we had no choice.  Then, finally a friend of mine and his dad were beyond gracious enough to let us stay at their condo for the time he was gone on holidays till we left on our own.  10 days or so.  Man, oh Man was this heroic move in our journey from someone. So we hauled all our stuff down 4 stories and moved up another 4 into another condo for the next 10+ days. Started over buying groceries, as we had to completely scratch our fridge contents.

So many things happened over those next 10 days.  We had finally felt somewhat stable again.  I became angry & resentful towards Calgary and those trying to help. The mayor. The alderman. The workers. The property management. The condo board. I felt like we were completely forgotten about. We got very scarce updates. We had few questions answered. And, when I did challenge them on facebook where we were directed too… My comments, though never abrasive, foul or anything of the like were deleted, without answer. I was blocked.  This just further enraged me.  But, after being told at a high rise meeting couple weeks later it would be minimum 2 months till we got home.  I gave it up.  There was no point wasting my time & energy anymore trying to blame someone. It wasn’t anyone’s fault that this was happening. Could some people have communicated a little bit better? Probably. But such is life. It didn’t make sense for me to waste 2 months of energy trying to criticize those who were of higher power.

I left it alone. I accepted it. It was an amazing feeling actually. Typically, I am just unable to let things slide and accept it for what it is. But this I did. And, I was fine with it.  The 2 weeks prior I felt probably every emotion possible.  From arrogance too complete anger too just sadness, disappointment and frustration. Exhaustion.

After I finally accepted what was happening for what it was and there was little I was going to do to fix anything.  I was happy. I could go about my day. Still to this day… I wonder why I can’t just do this with my fucking self all the time and the things going on inside my damn head.  But anyway.

It was so nice to have a place to stay. A place to wake up in the same bed, brush your teeth with real tap water instead of a co-op bottle, and then turn the lights on.  You really take these things for granted in your own home.  Bottle water to brush your teeth and the flashlight app to find your way is no way to live.  It was just amazing having a stable place to rest our heads for the week and a bit till we left on our own holidays.  Thank you so much Hayduk family.

After staying there for a couple weeks.  Amanda & I were off on our own holidays.  Perfect timing. Just as the third week of our displacement started. We were gone to Abbotsford-Victoria-Seattle-Vancouver-Penticton for 10 days. What an absolutely amazing trip.  As this blog is already some kind of length. I’ll save this recap for another day. But, what a trip and what timing.

A couple days in, We were in Victoria.  I was saying goodnight to my grandma and had an email come in from our property management company stating we had gained conditional acceptance to our place.  Though, it was as most reports very vague. Very vague. In a couple days, more emails came and we were told we had a place to go home with water/power and air quality was restored despite no parkades & no elevators for some time.  Fine with me.

We could go home when we got home. What a relief. It was almost too good to be true, and I didn’t believe it. I mean, I had accepted 2 months. In my mind we were 2 months. Minimum. And I had accepted that.  And, parts of me think. In my own world. I just needed to do that. I needed to accept it for what it was. And then in a couple weeks. We were back. A nasty lesson from Mother Nature & her friends. But one I have forever learned.

By the time our holidays were done. We returned home on the 31st day of having no home. 31 days. 13 beds during our time being displaced (plus a bit of holidays ya ya) and when we got home I immediately moved everything in my truck back up the stairs. It was a horrible workout to have at 11:30 pm.  We were home. Amanda turned on the breakers, and we flicked on the lights and boom. We were back.  Her & I celebrated like we had just won the Stanley Cup in Overtime.  And, let me tell you.  It was easily one of the single most joyous moments of my entire life.  We had home. We were back. 31 days. & I was finally able to sleep in my own bed.

You really take for granted your own home.  I know now that I did. Just the little things. The smell. The comfort. Then, when it’s all ripped away from you.  It hurts. I’ll never be able to explain to you what it’s like to lose your sense of home unless you’ve truly experienced it.  But, it was hard.

I always laugh at these cheesy adages… But, now having been homeless for 31 days and unsure of any return time for much of it.

Home truly is where the heart is.

In 31 days of being flooded and being displaced. I learned so much more about myself. I think I grew up ten-fold in just those 31 days. Another traumatic life experience for me to learn some more from!                                                      I’m good for a while I think

But actually… I learned to accept things. This whole flood started with me being completely arrogant on the eve of. Making fun of people, till the joke was really on us.  In between I felt every single emotion one could possibly feel, and in only a couple long weeks.  Above all, I learned to accept things. Life isn’t always going to be the way I want it. I can’t control everything, especially the stuff around me that is out of my control.  My depression, I can try and control it.  Sometimes I think I do. Sometimes I think I have accepted that I may suffer from these things in my head forever.  But, other times.  I don’t think I have accepted that and I completely break down.  But this though is different.  The feeling of just accepting what was for what is was amazing.  The change for me emotionally that occurred after that, was unbelievable. It’s almost weird, funny maybe looking back at that single moment when I just said… You know what? 2 months. Fuck it. What am I going to do? I need to waste more time and energy on being there for my family, and finding options for us. Not trying to blame the aldermen. It changed me. It changed my entire experience. It’s the first time I have ever truly accepted something like that.

It was a nasty, nasty lesson to learn from Mother Nature. Though, one I needed.  Maybe in my own world, and my individual perspective, it’s her joke on me now after I called her bluff every time she stormed on us before and never quite took the lady serious.

Now Please.

On behalf of my city, the surrounding towns and myself. 

I’d like to call a truce. 

Please… No More. 

In Closing:

As terrible as my 31 days were, and my story in Discovery Ridge along with the experiences we went through and will continue to go through as we restore normalcy around here.  Still we live in a construction site, and need to sign in/sign out every time we go. 1500+ people have no parking so in a tiny community like so you can just imagine that problem.  Plus, no elevators makes things challenging and exhausting at times, especially on grocery day. 

However, the flood was much, much worse in others areas and affected so many more people. People lost family members. People completely lost their homes, their vehicles, and belongings.  We consider ourselves lucky at the end of the day.

 

If you haven’t already, or would like too, please donate anything you can to the Red Cross Flood Relief.  Trust me.  It will go a long way.

 

Thanks!

 http://www.redcross.ca/donate/donate-online/donate-to-the-alberta-floods