Monthly Archives: October 2011

Oh boy…

He’s probably missing his old glasses.

Last Friday, I had a lengthy day at work, and made a beeline for the front door the second the clock ticked to 5 p.m. I rushed home, let myself lounge on my bed for no more than 15 seconds, before I bounded into the shower.

I hopped out, and put on two songs: Astronautolus – the River, the Woods, and Queen – Who wants to live forever. I quickly dried my hair, fretted over the style and changed it at least three times before I was satisfied, and then moved on to my makeup. I brushed on a shadow and carefully lined my eyes, smudging them in that rockstar way that many girls try and can’t do. I have a unique skill at creating the smokey eye.

After all this, I sped out the door, silently acting out Freddie Mercury’s heartbreaking cry of “When love must dieeeeee.” No one could hit that note like Freddie, and all the crappy reality shows that make amateurs try, need to cease and desist.

I continued on my evening, and finally ended up heading back to my house with a re-useable sack full of wine, ready to party down the street.

Suddenly, I was struck with a horrific pain in my left eye that crippled me as I was washing my hands in the bathroom. My eye snapped shut, and refused entry to my fingers that blindly stabbed at the source of pain, as my right eye began leaking with what can only be described as sympathy tears.

I cried out for my mother like a toddler who had scraped its knee, and she didn’t come. What was she supposed to do about it?

Eventually I developed a plan; I wedged my eye open despite the pain, wiped away the tears soaking my face in freshly-placed mascara and examined the left eye. In it, was a very long, curled up, black hair, that had obviously come off my own head.

I located a piece of the hair that was resting on my face, and pulled what probably amounted to multiple inches of hair out of my eye.

Yuck.

I thought the saga was over. I continued on my night after mopping up the black smudge that unfortunately reminded me of the many times I’ve been forced to leave my boyfriend at Sky Harbor Airport in Pheonix, Ariz., or at Tampa Bay International, or perhaps Las Vegas…..

Then today, Tuesday, I found myself blinking uncontrollably, as my automatic response tried to correct a desert-like dryness in my left eye. I began to resemble the three-eyed nuclear fish from the Simpsons. I believe his name was Blinky. I blinked all morning, and my co-workers commented on the constant flicking of my eyelashes.

Finally, I escaped at lunchtime, the only thought in my mind was to quench the insatiable thirst that my eye had developed. I picked up some Visine, but laboured in the aisle for awhile. Is it red? Yes. Is it dry? I guess…. Is it cool? No…is it hot? Nooo….. This symptom collection went on for awhile, as I carefully read each and every package of Visine and settled on one that cured redness and dryness, because I couldn’t decide which problem was the worst – the redness or the dryness.

It was all bad.

So, I settled into my car, headed to another store – naturally forgetting about my eye problem – and blinked along until I got back in the car a second time.

Hallelujah! The Visine! I tossed my glasses to the side like a frisbee and began to struggle with the child-proof safety seal for what seemed like a fortnight. Finally like a caveman trying to whittle sticks into fire, I burst open the packaging and hah! I was almost about to feel relief.

I drew back my head, poured in the drops, and blinked through the slight stinging.

Blink. Blink. Blink….ahhhhh.

My eye was finally moisturized. I threw the car into reverse, and was smiling delightedly to myself, when, as I switched into a forward motion, I realized I was blind.

Oh good god, the Visine had rendered me sightless.

I panicked and slammed on the brakes in fear, blocking the parking lot for all the sighted people, as I began to think about my life without sight.

How would I get out of this parking lot? How would I get back to work, or be able to dial my phone (or even find it) for a rescue mission? What about my future? I had planned to join a Zumba class this week – how would I ever Zumba if I couldn’t watch my instructor? And what about my boyfriend – he’s hot! How would I ever see him again? Would he resort to a life of wearing sweatpants and a strange beard with matching mutton chops if he knows I can’t see?

I looked around wildly, testing my vision. My eyes landed on a blurry, black and pink collection of sticks laying haphazardly across what may have been the Visine packaging.

Oh. Wait a minute. That isn’t a collection of sticks, it was in fact, my perfectly fine pair of glasses that I am legally required to use while driving (in Alberta, anyway. Apparently B.C. doesn’t care if you can see or not. Licenses for all!).

I put them on, and politely pulled out of the parking lot. Disaster averted.

For now, anyway.

Love,
Annalee.

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Give it back

Waiting for the ferry in Horseshoe Bay at a little coffee shop.

Ah, summer time. The season where getting out of town is everyone’s goal, and Jasper’s streets and hotels swell with an influx of tourists enjoying all the town has to offer.

The same goes for Jasper residents, such as myself. Vacations mean getting out of the Athabasca Valley and out into the world beyond.

I have heard many claims of Jasper being too expensive to travel too. We’re compared to Banff and so on, but I stumbled across a new comparison during my summer vacation that kind of put it all into perspective. Is Jasper really that bad compared to the rest of the Canadian tourist market?

I had never been to Vancouver before, except to take the ferry from Tsawwassen to Victoria, and I demanded that this year’s Vancouver Island trip take us there. My travelling companion and mother agreed that a night spent there would be fantastic. We got a nice hotel for a reasonable amount of money, found a cheap and delicious in-room meal, and in the morning we discovered a free hot breakfast – this was not your typical continental spread of muffins and old cereal boxes. There were fresh eggs, sausages and french toast and so much more. We left the hotel happy, and early after deciding to ditch our 12 o’clock ferry reservation that set us back by $17. Arriving at the ferry terminal we were near the front for the 10 o’clock. We pulled up to the ticket booth, and were utterly astounded to be slapped with a $77 fare – one way – for two passengers and a small Toyota car.

I hate to be that 23-year-old, but when I was a kid, I remember thinking $50 was too much for the ferry. Now I realize it’s a crown corporation with a high-paid CEO that is constantly running into scandals and money problems – forcing the fares to be hiked ever higher. That CEO David Hahn made over $1 million last year – including “performance-based incentives” – to captain a corporation that appears to be in grave danger of running aground.

We paid our $77, because obviously we were ill-equipped to pull a Huckleberry Finn and sail across the Straight of Georgia ourselves — but we weren’t happy about it. Once in Campbell River, our destination, we took Grandma to Quadra Island for a day – which we paid over $30 for a 10 minute ferry ride. Towards the end of our vacation, we heard on the news that BC Ferries will be dropping a few routes due to decreased traffic.

Do they really have to wonder why it’s happening? How many families can afford such a trip? Looking on the BC Ferries website, I discovered that for a family of five with a camper trailer and truck totaling 30 feet in length, it would cost $147.75. Then there’s the gas to power the truck, the food for three kids, the lure of the video games on the ferry (They had Super Mario Kart in the arcade. Even I had a hard time not blowing all my money on it) and the food they will inevitably need halfway through unless you had the chance to make a lunch before you left for the ferry terminal to catch a 6 a.m. sailing. Once you arrive to your destination, you better hope you have already found a good campground or a cheap hotel. If not, you are at the mercy of last minute hotel finding.

Leaving on the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, bound for Swartz Bay.

It’s just plain expensive to travel now, no matter where you go. When Josh and I drove across the country last year, we had his tiny Kia, packed full of stuff to the roof, and we tented whenever we could, or whenever I was not too lazy to help him set up camp. When we did hotel it, we went cheap. REAL cheap. It was a great way to travel, but it is certainly not feasible for a family. The two of us were just fine, and had a wonderful routine by the end of it; we’d roll in, park, both hop out of the car and start moving. The cooking stuff came out first, and I cooked and prepared dinner while Josh set up the tent.

We work for a living so we can get out on vacations, yet when we do, it’s too expensive to truly enjoy yourself. What the hell, tourism industry? You wonder why the economy is affecting you so much, but it’s glaringly obvious. Give people their ability to vacation back.

In related news, thanks for stepping down, David Hahn. As I’ve previously stated here, your resignation was seriously needed — but quit acting so high and mighty like you are single-handedly saving BC Ferries. You are the one that got them in this situation in the first place.

Love,
Annalee.

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