Friday, September 23, 2005

Dream or a Psychic Connection?

“I had a dream about you last night.”

“You did?”

“Yes and it was so real. Suzy, it was so real it has me a little freaked out.”

“Well that suits you, being a freak and all.”

“Oh shut up.”

“Well are you going to tell me about it?”

“I had this dream that you were sick with that pain in your side. The pain was so bad that you told me that you were going to go to the hospital. You were sitting on the end of a sofa, but it wasn’t our sofa. It was a shade of beige, I can’t really explain the colour but it definitely was not this sofa here. I was standing near a doorway and there was glass behind me, not sure if it was a window or a door. I don’t know where you were, but I was standing there with my keys in my hand and I was saying to you, let’s get going. We need to get you home if you are going to be ok to go to work in a few days. I think I had driven wherever you were to pick you up because you were too sick to drive home.”

I didn’t say anything because I was having a hard time believing what my mom was telling me.

“When did you have this dream?”

“It was just last night, while you were away.”

I didn’t want to admit to her that I had experienced a pain in my side that night, well all that day actually and I had debated on going home but really didn’t feel up to driving. It wasn’t as bad as in her dream. I never considered going to the hospital, but it did concern me. The fact that I have yet to make an appointment for further testing (since April) to see what the pain is caused from was further reason not to admit to it.

I finally did tell her though because I couldn’t believe that not only did she know I was feeling that pain, but the place that she described in her dreams was exactly the description of where I was staying and she has never been there before.

Freaky, eh?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Meme - Seven Things (Stolen from Jack)

Seven things I plan (would like) to do before I die

1. Earn a substantial amount of money
2. Play out a fantasy
3. learn to play an instrument reasonably well
4. take some university courses and possibly get a degree
5. travel to Europe
6. travel across Canada
7. buy a cottage on the waterfront or relatively near it

Seven things I can do......

1. talk a lot
2. laugh a lot
3. gain weight at an incredibly fast rate
4. work long hours for extended periods of time
5. stick with something until I “get it right”
6. bake a damn good pie
7. drive and talk on my cell phone

Seven things I cannot do.....

1. tell a lie
2. hide what I’m thinking/feeling
3. crochet
4. not worry about work
5. play an instrument
6. pretend I like you if I don’t (see number 1 and 2)
7. carpentry work

Seven things I find attractive about the opposite sex.....

1. eyes
2. butt
3. hair
4. intelligence
5. humour
6. generosity
7. kindness

Things I find attractive about the same sex.....

1. eyes
2. hair
3. intelligence
4. humour
5. generosity
6. kindness
7. compassion

Seven things I say the most.......

1. Holy Shit
2. You’re kidding!
3. Fuck
4. Jesus Christ
5. Oh My God!
6. Really?!
7. No problem

Books that I love.....

1. The Eight
2. Misery
3. Clara Callen
4. He’s Just Not Into You
5. The Joy of Writing
6. The Colour Purple
7. Little Women

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Day Four (End of Mini Vacation)

I’m not going to say that I wasn’t disappointed because I was. I just assumed that we would most likely spend 2 – 4 days in the area. I didn’t care if we moved from Wasaga Beach to Collingwood but I wasn’t ready to go home.

Trying to push those thoughts out of my head, I made my way for Duncan’s where I was going to meet up with my ex bf. We have remained friends, in spite of the nasty way he broke up with me. I’m not exactly sure why (we have stayed friends), except that he and I were very close and I don’t believe in forever and ever. I think that we are always presented with choices and we don’t always make the right choice. He did make a choice and I have accepted that. I appreciate the great time that we did have together and I am happy to be able to say that I experienced something like that once in my life.

My cell phone rings as I turn onto the main street.


“Hi Suzy, it’s ex bf. Listen my car has just broke down on my way into town. I’m right near the Toyota dealership. I have to see if they can have a look at it and hopefully fix whatever is wrong.”

“Ok, I’ll come and pick you up at the dealership. See you in a couple of minutes.”

“Great. Bye.”

I turn towards the location that I had just left and I wondered if Debbie had already departed. I could always have one more go at trying to convince her to stay if she is still there.

I park my car near the service entrance and look around the parking lot for signs of ex bf or his car. I see neither so decide to walk inside. As I approach the door, ex bf runs out and grabs me in a big bear hug and plants a kiss on my lips. He is happy to see me. I smile at him as he rushes after the mechanic towards his car. He keeps walking quickly while looking back at me calling out that he will be right back. I assure him with a wave that I am not going anywhere and sit in my car to wait.

Memories of buying my car fill my head. I remember driving around this very lot with the sales rep who was trying to teach me how to drive a standard in five minutes or less. I actually did quite well in the parking lot. It wasn’t until we took it out for a longer tour that I got stuck at a traffic light for six changes before I finally begged him to take over.

He was very shocked when we got back to the dealership and I told him I would take the car. Shocked and nervous about how I would be able to drive it home when I returned in a few days to pick it up and also what if I never did get the hang of it. It’s a big purchase. I wasn’t worried though. My confidence in my capabilities to grasp that concept was very strong.

I still smile when I think of how worried he was that day when I was leaving. He gave me his home phone number and made me promise to phone him once I got home. The trip went fairly well because I managed to catch almost all green lights and when I did have to stop, it was at a level crossing. In the end, I would say that it took me a few weeks to feel confident and now it is like second nature and I now have difficulty driving an automatic.

Ex bf interrupts my reverie by opening the door to the car and settling in.

“Do you mind if we go to Tim Horton’s across the road so that we can be close by?”

“Of course I don’t.”

Ex received a telephone call shortly after we sat down at a table, a cancellation of an appointment which allowed us more time to visit. Instead of less than an hour we actually had two hours to sit and chat. It still moved by quickly and before I knew it I was receiving another bear hug goodbye.

I wasn’t overwhelmed with sadness when I drove away this time. I can honestly say that I have moved on with my life and cannot imagine living back in this town or with him. That was our plan when we were together that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. At that point, I was convinced that he was “the” one. I know now that it wouldn’t have worked. Maybe that’s why it didn’t. I do hold that romantic belief that everything happens for a reason, even the things that seem terrible or unbearable at the time. This would be one of those. It was very unbearable at the time, but my life has changed so much because of it that I can’t imagine going backwards and reverting back to the way it was before. I have lovely memories and he will always hold a place in my heart.

Glancing at the clock I was pretty proud of myself when I realized that I was right on target with my estimated arrival time at Lucy’s. I had originally said 1:00 pm but when Ex had the cancellation; I called and left a message that it would be 2:00 pm. I pulled into her driveway right on time. This trying to be punctual thing is not so hard to accomplish. It just requires realizing my own inequities and being realistic with my timeframes.

The balance of the glorious afternoon was spent sitting in Lucy’s screened porch chatting and catching up on gossip. It was very relaxing to sit and talk while her husband toiled in the garage, straightening and organizing everything in preparation for the colder weather ahead when the car would need to be parked inside.

Lucy and Donald invited me to stay for dinner and overnight and I happily accepted. I was tired from all my visiting and this was great because as I had already stated, I wasn’t ready to return home yet anyway.

The next morning Lucy and I enjoyed a quiet breakfast and discussed plans for the day. I was going to go home but it didn’t have to be early. Donald had to go into work for a meeting but would be home just before noon.

Lucy and I went for a lovely walk up the road to the base of Blue Mountain and then back to her place. I took some photos of things that I found interesting. This served one other purpose (besides getting great photos). First it required me to stop, compose and shoot, which takes time (i.e. rest). Lucy and I used to walk everyday when she stayed with me for a few months a couple of years ago and unlike me, she has kept up with her exercise regime whereas mine has started and floundered quite a few times. I don’t think she caught onto my little trick, if she did; she certainly didn’t act like it.

While we walked in the hot, sweltering, unrelenting sun our conversation turned to how much we both love the Beach (Wasaga Beach). Lucy was realizing that in spite of that love she does not go and enjoy it and had not been there for an afternoon in at least a couple of years. We decided that it would be fun to spend the afternoon lying in the sun, near the water like we used to when I lived there.

Lucy’s husband didn’t want to join us so we packed up the car and left him on his riding mower. I think he waved goodbye, I’m sure it was a wave. His energy level must have been low though because he could only muster to raise one finger. We first went to get a bite to eat for lunch and arrived at the deserted beach around 2:30 pm. Lucy was concerned about the time until I reminded her that she was on vacation and did not have little children to rush home for. I admit that I didn’t consider her husband because I forget what it’s like, being a divorcee and all.

The weather was very different in the short distance from Lucy’s house to the Beach. The Beach was very cool and windy. The sun was brilliant and the waves were wild, so for me it was perfect. I love it when the air is slightly cool and the water is very warm and wavy.

We were pretty much alone except for maybe 6 other people scattered across the wide sand. A gentleman trying to work with a kite thing and a slalom ski held my curiosity for more than an hour. He could only manage to get his toes into the ski before the kite would crash into the water. I was probably more frustrated at his failings than he was. Finally he gave up and left.

It was 6:00 pm when we returned to the car after my swim, drying off and a long walk along the beach front. I noticed that we had unfortunately missed a call from Lucy’s husband and I told her that she should call him right away and reassure him that we were both safe and sound.

I decided that Lucy and her husband didn’t require my company any longer and explained this as I dropped her off in the driveway before heading for home. I was thankful that I had taken the time to pack prior to our beach trek.

The sight of the city on the horizon brought a feeling of comfort and I realized again that this is now my home. You can’t go back in time to recapture those wonderful memories that you have by simply returning for a visit to that “place”. They are only memories and what makes a place wonderful is not so much the geographical location, but more about the people in your life and how you spend your time with those people. We move; people change; grow apart; new people enter to fill their spaces and each has the capacity to help you make new memories.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Day Three...

I finish brushing my teeth and walk out of the bathroom talking to Debbie, but she isn’t answering me. I look over towards her bed and realize that she is already fast asleep. It’s 9:45 pm. I would never have imagined that I would be ready for bed before 11:00 pm on a non work night, yet it didn’t seem that there was much else to do.

Feeling refreshed and well rested I climb out of bed to check the weather. It didn’t look half as nice as yesterday. The wind was blowing strong and the sky was overcast and dull.

Debbie was still asleep so I decided to try and go back to sleep until she woke up. While I was waiting, I marveled at how well I felt in spite of the vodka and sun from the day before. I was happy that the over indulgence was not going to spoil the day.

Not too long after, Debbie woke up and unfortunately she was not feeling as chipper as the day before. We both started to get ready for the day and trying to decide what to do next.

I was surprised when Debbie suddenly announced that she was going to go home. Her reasoning was that there wasn’t much to do with the cool, cloudy weather and no matter how I tried; I was unable to coax her into staying.

My day was not going to go to waste though because I had already made plans to meet my friend Linda in the afternoon and my ex bf and I were going to meet for lunch.

We parted ways shortly before noon and under a brilliant, sunny sky we said goodbye. I felt bad but my old flame was waiting for me and I didn’t want to be late.

…to be continued

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Wee Break from the Travelogue

My new computer arrived today and I must say I am amazingly impressed, happy, estatic and everything else that is good!

Now I have a scanner and I couldn't resist but scan and post this picture of my sister and I. Which one is Suzy Snow? Left or Right?

Click on the photo to view a larger size.

No Show

Collingwood is deserted on this Tuesday evening in early September at 11:00 pm. It is the first day of school, so it is naturally quiet. Unlike the hot days of summer when everyone is up late and antsy, unable to sleep.

I question my decision of waiting so long for a break from work. Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to wait for summer to be over. It is very quiet and depressing. My mind is filled with childhood memories as I drive down the deserted streets in search of A) Food and B) Gas. Whatever I find first is where I stop first.

Naturally it was an open gas station. This is going to hurt, $1.26 per litre. The most I have paid so far was $1.05 and I thought that was bad. It ended up costing me $48.00 to fill my car. Not too long ago the most I paid to fill my car would have been around $33.00. I wonder how all those people who commute back and forth from here to the city every day will handle this increased expenditure.

After paying for my gas, I stand at my car for a moment and look up and down the street that is filled with every kind of junk food emporium you can think of, looking for a lit sign that might be calling my name. All the Arches and beacons are turned off though and I decide to head back to Wasaga Beach where I can stop at Tim Horton’s on the way and get a huge coffee and perhaps a sandwich.

It’s midnight when I pull back into the parking lot. The elderly couple in the room beside me have long since gone to bed. Now I need to concentrate on getting myself to sleep. Considering that I am very bored, it shouldn’t be too hard. It wasn’t. I think I only read three pages of my book before turning out the light and drifting off.

The light shining through the spot where the blind was missing slats (at the very edge, 3 or 4 verticals) woke me up early. It was only 8:00am. Unlike a day where I am going to work, this morning I actually looked forward to getting out of bed and starting my day. From the amount of sunlight already pouring into the room, it looked like it would be a good one.

Debbie called just before leaving her place so that I would know when she was arriving. I didn’t think I would be travelling too far from the motel so I wasn’t too worried about it. After talking to Debbie, I thought I should at least phone home and check in with my mother to make sure everything was ok there.

She helped me while away some more minutes but once again I am looking around the motel room, wondering what to do next. Breakfast sounds like an idea, but that most likely means heading back to Collingwood. I don’t expect anything to be open at the Beach, so rather than irritating myself by looking, I head directly to Town around 10:30 am.

My favourite restaurant in Collingwood is Duncan’s CafĂ©. I know that I will get a nice breakfast there and my mouth is watering as I drive there. I try to call Debbie so that she can join me but she doesn’t answer her cell phone and she doesn’t have voice mail. I like how easy it is to get in touch with her. No matter, I’ll be back before she arrives.

I’m not though. I eat breakfast and stop into my old office to see Judy and Carolyn. I can’t be this close and not say hello. We talk briefly, I assist Judy with a cranky client and then I leave to return to the Beach. I need to be back by 1:30pm and it is already 12:30.

I manage to make it back by 1:00 and I see Debbie sitting by the pool, already in her bathing suit. It looks inviting and I change immediately and mix us some drinks. Ignoring the sign on the gate to the pool "No Glasses", I yell for Debbie to open it up because I can’t manage the latch and two glasses of vodka and pop. It was special blueberry flavoured vodka with Sprite. A perfect combination.

When I had gone into the motel room to change, I had noticed two cd’s sitting on my notebook on the table and wondered why Debbie would bring cd’s considering she had stayed at the motel previously, she should know it didn’t come with a stereo.

It dawned on me though as I made my way to the pool that Musicman must have arrived early and dropped them off. Maybe Debbie met him. I am anxious to see what she thinks.

"Did you meet my friend?"

"What friend?"

"My music friend, the one that dropped those cd’s off."

"Oh those cd’s, I wondered why they were sitting there. No, I didn’t meet anyone, they were already on the table when I arrived."

"They were?" "What time did you get here?"

"Around 11:30."

"Really?" "Gee, that’s really weird. He said he was going to come by at 1:30. Why would he stop by earlier and how did he get into our room?"

"That is weird. I don’t know but it is kind of creepy if you ask me. You don’t even know him, do you?"

"No. Not really."

"That must have been who the cleaning lady saw. She said that she saw the guy that owns that convertible right there, going into your room earlier."

"No, it wasn’t him. I saw that couple last night. Maybe Musicman looks like him from the back."

"Well she was all confused thinking you were here with convertible guy. And then she said something about you driving Dan (the guy in the office) nuts."

"That pisses me off. I’ll tell you all about that bullshit later."

After telling my story of the previous day and evening and throwing the empty vodka bottle in the trash, a very sunburned Debbie and I, headed out to dinner at the Rockdell. Yes, it was almost in Collingwood but it was a far cry from driving to the Keg in Barrie which was Debbie’s choice.

….to be continued.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mystery Musical Date

I try to get comfortable on the bed and I realize that it’s not that the bed is uncomfortable, it’s quite adequate, but the pillows are too flimsy. I prefer two pillows. The bottom one has to be more solid than the top and I regret not bringing my own.

It crosses my mind as I flip the channels on the remote control that I am paying $100.00 to sit in a motel room to feel lonely and sad. I could do this just as easily at home.

The ringing of my cell phone grabs my attention for a moment and I am relieved to see that it’s Debbie calling. Perhaps she has changed her mind and is calling to tell me she is on her way up. She isn’t of course, she is just calling to tell me what time to expect her in the morning and that she will call before she leaves. I assure her that I will be there, because where could I possibly go? Then I try to convince her to get in her car right then and there and throw caution to the wind, live dangerously and join me because I am going stark raving mad. She laughs. I am almost begging. No not almost, I am begging. I am pathetically trying to guilt her into changing her mind. I cannot understand why she steadfastly refuses to come up until Wednesday, other than the fact that she is typically stubborn and only does what she wants to do. I nor anyone else, will ever get her to do something that she doesn’t want to do.

I have lots of good reasons for her to drive up that moment though. The room is already paid for; I’m lonely; it’s only an hour and a half drive; we would get an early start on the day; the room is already paid for; I’m lonely…then I realize that I am merely repeating my reasons over and over again and really I don’t have that many but I do feel they are good reasons. She won’t budge though and laughingly says goodbye and hangs up.

The silence (other than the constant chatter of the television) is deadly. I hate it. I return to the fetal position with my remote control and try to console myself.

Soon my mind turns to Musicman. I met him at the end of May while walking through a music festival. His music, which I could hear over the rooftops, drew me to the corner where he and his band were playing. He was singing one of my favourite Allman Bros songs, One Way Out. I planted myself on the edge of a planter across the street in the warm, spring sun and listened to them play song after song. I didn’t hear any that I didn’t like and it was a perfect moment in time. The voice, deep and raspy, from too many cigarettes, was very appealing.

After a few more songs, Musicman introduced the band members and I realized that the Bass player was an old acquaintance of mine. He was my old boyfriend’s roommate. I hadn’t seen him in years and this was a good opportunity to say hello and also get a closer look at the man behind the voice.

After a brief reunion with Bass player, I was introduced to Musicman. There was an intensity in his clear, blue eyes that made me want to stare, but I forced myself not to do so. He asked me if I wanted to buy a couple of their cd’s and when I said yes, he told me that he needed my address, phone number and email address. I complied because I was intrigued. I wanted to hear more of their music and because he knew Bass player, there was a higher comfort level than normal.

Sporadic email correspondence began shortly thereafter and was usually accompanied with questions of when I would be in their territory again. I could never give an answer because I didn’t have hardly any spare time to be going anywhere until this week, and when I made plans for my mini vacation, we decided to get together for a coffee and chat. I was also promised those elusive cd’s.

Just before leaving from home, I received an email from Musicman advising that he wouldn’t get off work until 10:00pm but he would be able to stop by the motel for a brief visit around 10:30pm. I replied that would be ok and suggested he call the motel earlier so that I could tell him what room I was in.

The fact that now I was sitting in a room without a telephone bothered me. Not only for safety sake, but now my chances of meeting up with him would be slim. Surely the young guy in the office would not be giving that information out to anyone, and I never thought to let him know that I was expecting a gentleman caller later that night. I decided that the only recourse would be to go outside at 10:30pm and sit at the picnic table waiting.

That idea didn’t appeal to me either and the closer it got to 10:30pm the more I was accepting that I would not see him and it just wasn’t meant to be. I have a fatalistic attitude about most things. People think I’m crazy sometimes, but I find it easier to deal with disappointment that way. If it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to, if it does, than it was meant to and so on.

Still lying on the bed, trying not to fall asleep to the news, I was startled by the quiet knock on my door. I expected to see the young fellow from the office coming with a message and was very, very surprised to see Musicman standing there.

"How did you find me?"

"The guy in the office told me your room number. You were expecting me, weren’t you?"

"Yes, I was, but I don’t have a telephone in the room so I’m just surprised that we are actually meeting up. It never dawned on me that he would tell you what room I was in. I mean, I never told him I was expecting a visitor."

"Well, I’m glad he did."

"Oh yes, so am I. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like I’m not happy to see you. Anyway, let’s go sit on the picnic table on the deck and talk."

"That sounds good, I can’t stay too long. I only have about half an hour and then I really have to get going, but I just wanted to stop in and say hello."

It seemed like he had just arrived, but here I was shaking his hand goodbye. A promise was made to drop the cd’s off to me the next day at 1:30pm. He would have more time to visit and perhaps we would go for lunch somewhere.

I walk inside my room, sit on the edge of the bed and debate what I will do next. Now I am wide awake and feeling trapped by the small room. After some thought, I decide to go out for a wee drive and perhaps grab a hamburger down the road.

The hamburger joint was long closed up and my gas gauge was warning me that I was not the only one that needed to be fed. Knowing full well that there would not be an open gas station in the Beach, I turn my car towards Collingwood and pray that there really would be an extra 5 kms worth of gas after the needle hits empty.

…to be continued.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Day One, Mini Vacation Wasaga Beach

Originally uploaded by Suzy Snow.
Day One

I decide to phone into work before I leave the house on Tuesday to see if by chance my overtime cheque has arrived. If it’s in then perhaps the cheque will cover the cost of my car expense on Saturday.

"Yes they arrived on Friday. I’ll put your cheque in your drawer for you."

"Thanks a lot, I’ll see you later. I’m not sticking around though. I'll just pick up my cheque and then I’m off to start my vacation."

After two hours of packing I finally say goodbye to Mom and Melissa. I check the clock on my dash and notice that it’s noon. Not too bad, I will have the best part of the day to spend lounging on the beach.

The cheque is more than I expected. On the way to my office I tried to think of what it would be and anticipated a cheque of $150.00. Not enough to cover the car expenses but it would help. It is five hundred dollars. I excitedly call my mom to let her in on my good fortune. Feeling happier, I leave work and head directly to the mall.

My daughter had been in Wasaga Beach on the weekend and told me that the evenings were very chilly. I decided that this is as good a time as any to get a new jacket.

With my new purse, wallet, earrings, jacket, various sundries from the drugstore and a full tummy from a delicious lunch I venture back to my car to begin my adventure. The time is now 3:00 p.m.

An hour later, I am pulling into the motel and immediately notice the empty parking lot. No problem, I wanted a rest so I should be happy that the motel is quiet. Smug that my plan of arriving after the busy long weekend is going to pay off, I walk into the office to check in.

The young fellow behind the desk looks as though I have just woken him up, but between yawns manages to take my particulars. The sign on the wall states that efficiency units are $200.00 per night, July and August. He wants to know if I am paying by cash or credit card.


"OK that will be $100.00 per night."

"I’ll pay for two nights. My friend is joining me tomorrow. Is that the price for a unit in the new building with a fridge and stove?"

"Yes and we have two layouts. What one do you want to take?"

"Well, what is the difference between the two?"

"One is an open concept design with one big room, two beds and the bathroom at the back and a small fridge and cook top. The other has a full fridge and stove, two separate bedrooms with the bathroom dividing the two."

He looked at me impatiently waiting for my decision.

"I’m not sure which one to choose; the two bedroom one sounds good. Do you think I could see them?"


With a sigh he grabs the keys for the two rooms and saunters out the door. I get the feeling that I am really putting him out, but I don’t care. It’s my vacation and I want to make the right choice.

The two bedroom looks huge and adequate. The bathroom is brand new with a huge bathtub that I can visualise myself lounging in it later. We walk down two doors to look at the other unit. He opens the door and it looks just like any other motel room with a TV on a low dresser on one wall and two double beds across from it.

"I’ll take the two bedrooms."


He leaves me to unpack my car. The first thing is to get my vodka and wine in the fridge. The fridge and stove are in the back bedroom. It’s unusually dark and I fumble with the lamp. It doesn’t work. That pisses me off. I reach up and turn on the light above the stove. It cast a faint yellow hue and I feel a little apprehension as I continue with my chore of unpacking.

I look around the bedroom that I have claimed for myself, but then it hits me that if I’m in the back then I won’t be able to watch TV because there is only one and it is in the front bedroom along with the air conditioning unit.

This won’t do. I acknowledge that I made a mistake but tell myself it’s OK because I can change rooms in the morning when Debbie arrives.

I might as well sleep in the front with the air and the tv.

I walk into the other room and flop on the bed pointing the remote control at the TV. No matter how much I push buttons, nothing happens. This requires getting up close to inspect the problem. The TV was unplugged for some reason and I expect results after I plug it in, but still nothing.

I continue to fool around with it but no matter which channel I choose I still see the white fuzzy screen of a broken TV or a television that is not connected to cable. The thought crosses my mind that perhaps they cut the cable off after Labour Day.

It’s not suitable. I decide to call the front desk and complain.

Where is the phone?

No matter where I look; in drawers, behind doors, in cupboards or under the bed, I still end up with nothing. No telephone. No TV. $100.00 per night. What the fuck?

It’s 4:30pm and all I want to do is go for a swim. I might as well get changed and then on my way to the beach, I’ll tell the guy to fix the TV and I’ll complain about no phone. Or at least ask if it’s been misplaced.

The front office is empty but the door was open when I walked back in. I can hear him talking on the telephone and he soon appears in front of me, still talking into a cordless phone. He starts to fumble with the computer and tells the person that he is checking for their reservation. He can’t tell the caller what the charge will be because the manager will not be back until Thurs, but he knows it will be at least $100.00 per night. The person on the other end of the line mentions the name of another establishment and then he informs him that is not who he is speaking with and suggests he check with the other motel first, but if that fails he does have rooms available.

Hanging up the phone he turns his attention back to me and I am not sure but I thought I could see annoyance in his face. Without missing a beat, I launch into my dialogue about the TV and the missing phone, the lamp that doesn’t work and that I think I made the wrong choice and will most likely move into the other room the next day once my friend arrives.

He suggests that I change rooms right away because it would be much easier and I follow him back to my room so he can check out the TV. After a couple of seconds he gets it working. I’m not sure what magic button he chose, but he tells me that he’ll open the other room and that I can take my time moving. He will bring me the room key and pick up the other one later.

It takes me less than five minutes to vacate the room and settle into the new one. I notice that he has turned the TV on and I think that is rather cheeky. This is not the best start to my holiday. If I had not already paid for the room and if it was not the choice of my friend, I would have packed my car and gone to another establishment.

Ready for the warm sun and sand I push the negative thoughts aside and reach for the remote to turn the television off (always a conservationist at heart). It takes me a few minutes to find it. Someone had pushed it to the very back of the shelf below the TV. The power button elicits no response. I cannot believe it. With an overwhelming feeling of defeat, I walk back to the office to get my key and enquire about the remote control.

Again, the front office is empty when I walk in and it takes a few minutes for him to appear. I am not mistaking the annoyance on his face. It is obvious that he regrets taking my $200.00 just as much as I reqret having paid it.

"Here’s your key. Thought I would save you the trip because I want to go for a swim on the beach. By the way, the remote control isn’t working for the TV."

"It isn’t?"

"Nope. I tried and tried, but the back cover is off and it sounds like something inside is loose when I shake it."

"I’ll be over in a little while to check it out."

"I’m going for a swim, can you tell me how to get down to the beach front?"


"Where is the access to the beach?"

"Right by the bbq’s."

I hadn’t noticed any bbq’s but I knew from the web site that there is supposed to be access to the beach front from the motel and that there are bbq’s for the guests to use. Rather than question him any further, I leave the office and walk in the direction he had pointed.

At the back of the parking lot is an elevated deck with picnic tables and lawn chairs. Thinking that would be an ideal place for a bbq, I climb the stairs to the deck. There is a fence dividing the space from the patio of a bar named Sandbar and the gate is padlocked closed. I know if I can get into the patio of the bar, there will be stairs leading to the beach. This must be the wrong way though. I still do not see the bbq’s.

I know that I can always walk around the corner, but it annoys me that again someone has falsely advertised themselves and they get away with it.

On the way to the street I see the young fellow heading towards my room to see about the remote control. I decide to try one more time.

"I’m sorry but I can’t find the access to the beach front."

He points to a location behind me.

"The gate is right there, behind the bbq. Do you see it?" At the same time he walks over to it and opens the gate.

I feel foolish. The bbq’s are tucked underneath the overhang of the deck at the very edge of the parking lot, just where any reasonable person would put one. I shake my head and walk past him into the narrow alleyway. The pavement is overgrown by grass and as the gate swings shut behind me, I’m overcome with the scent of human urine.

I decide that I will not return to my room this way and hurry to the door at the other end. Once on the other side, I turn around to see where the doorway is located and notice that there is no doorknob. I wouldn’t be able to get back in anyway.

Once the decision to take a mini vacation with my friend was made, I started to imagine how I was going to spend my free time. I imagined myself swimming in the lake, lying on the sand in the sun, sitting at a picnic table writing, going for walks on the beach and taking pictures of the sunset.

After doing all the above in just over an hour, I stood looking at the four walls of my motel room wondering what I was going to do now and felt an overwhelming feeling of loneliness replace my earlier happy anticipation.

…to be continued

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Suzy's On The Beach - Be Back Soon

Originally uploaded by Suzy Snow.
I will be looking at this view very shortly. I'm all packed and ready to hit the road.

Check back next week for updates and I hope new stories, but if nothing worthy of writing about happens then at least I'll have some pictures.

See ya!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Boxed Lunches, Cheaper?

Originally uploaded by Suzy Snow.
I'm going away for a few days to get some needed rest. I'm officially on a one week vacation and my friend Debbie and I are going to Wasaga Beach to relax by the waters edge and hopefully have a bit of fun.

Debbie has decided to wait until Wednesday or Thursday to join me so I will have a night or two on my own (I'm going up on Tuesday). I think most of my friends know that I have worked a lot of overtime this summer. I feel as though I have had no life, because basically it has been work and sleep, work and sleep. We had a huge project at work and I knew that would require a lot of my focus this summer so I decided that I would hold my vacation until after it was over and in that way I would be able to really enjoy it.

Wasaga Beach, although touted as a "four seasons getaway", basically shuts down after the labour day holiday in and around the "main drag" area which is where we have chosen to stay. Our motel is located right on the water and looks to be a nice spot. I am not disappointed that I will have to pay less for my room because I waited until after the prime holiday times, nor am I disappointed that I won't have to jockey for a piece of the sand. It suits me perfectly. I plan on taking pleasure in some solitary walks that I'm sure will remind me of my life there four years ago.

One of the downsides to working late every night and working every Saturday is that you don't have time to do your regular things that you need to do, like housekeeping projects you had in mind, shopping, or getting your car tuned up. My attention was reverted to my car the other morning when I backed out of my parking spot and noticed that I was short one headlamp. I am not the most observant person on earth, so it really does make me wonder how long I had been driving around like that. I remember thinking that the road was particularly dark one night last week when I came home really late.

Now that I have been released from work for a week, I feel as though I’ve been injected with a refreshed frame of mind and a new rejuvenated energy. I decided to look after this little detail immediately yesterday morning after I dropped my daughter off at her work. No time like the present to take care of this type of thing, was my mantra as I started to drive towards home on auto pilot.

It worked. Rather than continuing on Cawthra, I turned left on the Queensway and navigated my car to the Canadian Tire at Mavis and Dundas. There was hardly a soul in the store other than the people that work there and I smiled smugly to myself at the good idea. After all it is a long weekend and most people are away enjoying the last of summer before the kids head back to school on Tuesday.

I walked up to the Service Counter and told the young fellow that I would like an oil change and I had a headlamp that needed to be replaced. He asked me if I would like the "seasonal" oil change ($29.95) or just the regular. I asked what the difference was and he informed me that the "seasonal" oil change included a check of fluids, brakes, wheels etc. Considering that my car maintenance was severely overdue I opted for the more thorough check and decided to walk around the store to see if there was any shopping I needed to do while I waited.

An hour later, after purchasing a new lunch bag (which will encourage me to make my lunch everyday), I returned to check on the progress of my car. I noticed it was still in it’s original parking spot so I took a seat in the waiting area. A man pulled my car into the bay shortly after and within minutes, it seemed, I was looking at a worksheet that showed that my car needed two front rotors, brake pads, cleaning and adjustment of rear brakes and deglazing of the rear drums. On top of the oil change and headlamp replacement.

The total cost would be $515.00. Did I want them to continue? My car is on a hoist, I knew the brakes were spongy because I have been babying them for quite some time, I am about to take a little bit of a road trip and even though I had not counted on this extra expense, how could I possibly say "no, just do the oil change"?

So as I’m sure they knew that I would, I told them to fix the car. The fellow asked me if I was going to go home or would I be waiting in the store because it would be another two hours or so. I asked if they had a convenience vehicle to drive customers home and he shook his head with a smirk and said "Nooooooo, not today."

"Ok, then I’ll be staying. I can’t get home when my car is on the hoist."

"You might want to walk across the road to Loblaws, they have a little restaurant there where you could get something to eat while you wait."

"That sounds good. Thanks."

I left the store trying to ignore the pit that was forming in my stomach and consoled myself that at least I was being responsible and getting my car fixed, especially the brakes was very important.

Loblaws is my favourite grocery store. It’s reputation is one of high prices but I can’t help it. I have fun shopping at Loblaws. I want to spend money when I’m at Loblaws, like no other grocery store. Even if I’m not hungry, I can find plenty of things that I have to have when I’m shopping at Loblaws. The opposite is true when I grocery shop at Dominion, Food Basics or No Thrills (No Frills), I could be starving to death and walk out empty handed because my appetite leaves the moment I enter those stores. It’s all about marketing. Loblaws knows how to present a store and get your hand into your wallet. The other stores have no clue or don’t care because they depend on people that have no alternative but to shop there to keep them in business.

So off to Loblaws I headed while Canadian Tire played with my car. It was just as well, it was already 10:30 am and I had left home without a breakfast at 8:45 to take my daughter to work. I was ready for a snack. After a great breakfast bagel (fried egg, tomato, cheese, bacon, lettuce and mayo), I decided to look around the store. I was not grocery shopping, just browsing.

Sixty-five dollars later, I decided to return to Canadian Tire to see if my car was ready. The sixty five dollars was spent on essentials that I remembered I needed when I was looking around (moisturiser, face wash, a good book to read, thank you cards, and a new razor).

The Canadian Tire store looked completely different this time around. The once barren parking lot was full of cars, many people were driving around looking for spots, and customers teamed in and out of the doors. Not a good sign. Maybe my car wouldn’t be finished. I prayed that it was when I went inside.

The counter help were all busy with other customers. The manager stood expressionless while a white trash female yelled at him loudly about god knows what. I missed the beginning of the story, but no matter how loud she yelled or how she near she was teetering on tears, in the end I did see her paying her bill.

The other guy, that had initially taken my keys from me was quoting a price for an Asian man on some new tires and rims. The Asian man argued with him about a previous quote that was different. An Indian Clerk was scurrying around behind the counter moving bits of paper from one spot to another and although he knew I was there to pick up my car, he preferred that I wait for the clerk dealing with the Asian man. He told me it would only be a minute then left the area altogether.

I had to wait while the clerk went to talk to the stone faced manager about the Asian man’s complaint. I stood patiently while the clerk told him there was nothing he could do about the incorrect quote that was given earlier and then listen to him go over each and every charge in detail over and over and over again. I looked at the back of the head of the Asian man and fought with myself not to take my purse and smash him.

The Indian guy reappeared finally and started to shuffle paper bits again, while I stared at him constantly until he finally acknowledged that yes I was STILL standing there and young clerk was STILL arguing with the Asian man. He picked up my paperwork and proceeded to ring me out.

"Cash or Credit card?"

"I’ll use my Debit card."

He rings the purchase through and I punch in my pin number and then the unthinkable happens. A message flashes across the screen "Exceeded Limit, refer to branch".

Fuck. Damn. I KNEW this would happen. A few months ago, my bank called to tell me that I had used my debit card at a gas station that was under surveillance for fraud. I had to have my card replaced and at that time the teller talked me into lowering my limits, advising me that I would be responsible for any charges that incurred fraudulently until after it was proven (arrests, court etc) which could take years. I agreed to lowering them but I was hesitant because I have become one of those people that never has cash in their wallets…why carry cash when you have your debit card?

The Indian clerk didn’t read the message but continued to swipe my card again and suggested that I had input the wrong pin. I told him that I knew what the problem was and luckily I had another debit card from another bank and all we needed to do was put part of it on one and part of it on another. I was very relieved when it said approved.

Slightly embarrassed, I grabbed my invoice and keys and hurried to my car. Once inside, I decided to look at the invoice in more detail.

Under the oil change section it read: CI Hydro Box Lunch $9.99 each Cost 0 (because it was under the seasonal oil change charge of $29.95.

I went back inside to the counter to find out what it was and Indian clerk had disappeared again but original guy was there without the aggravating Asian man. I stepped in front of a line (there was no way I was lining up again) and asked him what that meant. He said, "well that’s the free lunch bag you are entitled to, didn’t we give it to you?"

"No, you didn’t."

He made a half hearted look behind the counter but was unable to find any lunch boxes.

I stood silently watching him, waiting for him to tell me that they didn’t have any and then try to dismiss me.

I must add that he was alone at the counter with a line up and stone faced manager and all other help had disappeared.

He looked at me sheepishly and told me that although they didn’t have any behind the counter, there were more on the proper aisle in the store and if I could just go over to customer service, they would tell me where they were and then I could get one myself, bring it back to him and that would be it.

I did just that gladly, rather than the alternative, which I knew would entail another long, long wait.

In the end, I got a better lunch bag then the one I had originally purchased at the beginning of the story and now I have absolutely no reason not to take my lunch (all for the low price of $515.00), because I can forget one in the car or at work and I’ll have a second option waiting at home.

I feel so much better about starting my little holiday now that I have taken care of the burnt out headlight and the oil change.


Clouds Mississauga 1 03092005
Originally uploaded by Suzy Snow.
I am speechless or feel that right now anything I have to say will seem insignificant and trite with the horrible disaster south of the border. I am however posting a picture of my favourite subject, clouds. This was taken this afternoon in Mississauga, Ontario.