Pair Of Dice

As I write this, 5 years ago today, Jango and I were heading to the airport. I remember our last morning in the hotel, how nervous I was. My biggest anxiety about the move had been about Jango.

I had him all packed up in his crate, with my nightie I had been wearing and a pair of socks I wore in the room for several weeks. At least the crate would smell like me. I had booked a Towncar to get to the airport, why not, I say. The cost was about the same as a regular taxi.

Bell, those bastards, had already cut off my phone, so I hauled all my stuff to the lobby of the old Edgewater hotel for the last time. I asked the guy at the desk to call the car company to confirm, because … well, see above about Bell, those bastards.

While I waited for the car, realizing the wait was over, I admit I was excited and scared. I knew it wouldn’t all be paradise, that it wouldn’t all be easy. I didn’t have enough money to just live happily ever after, but I had decided to worry about that when the time came.

It’s time. Again. And again. It’s interesting to me, as I reflect on all that has happened and all the things I have experienced. Highs and lows, like everybody does. Before I launch into a bit of self-mewling, I’ll remind you of one of my life long mantras:

Regrets are a desperate waste of your time.

I honestly don’t believe I would be ay better off had I stayed in Canada or Toronto. I had been toying with the idea of moving to Halifax, as things were not really working for me in Toronto. I couldn’t even get hired at Tim Horton’s to bake doughnuts. I had also been toying with the ideas of going back to college, but that wasn’t getting off the ground either.

I decided to roll the dice. Once the idea of moving to the Dominican was in my head, it was there. Five years later…

About a year or so ago, I had fallen into deep despair about my situation and then when I hit the point where I couldn’t take it any longer, a job arrived. I was so relieved and finally felt like I could breathe again. Lasted six months.

It’s been nine months of living a meagre existence, and a lot of my existence has come from friends. As rent approaches, the anxiety moves in again and my prospects, of late, have been dismal.

A few months ago, my landlady shut my water off, because my rent was late. When I asked my neighbour to turn it on, she showed up at my door, screaming at me in Spanish. Did I say screaming? Yes, I did. She was screaming.

I elegantly closed the door in her face and she went to the roof and screamed her head off. Then she came back down and hammered on my door with what may have been a flashlight.

She’s going to kick me out, she’s going to call the police (here I said, Si, you should because turning off my water is not only illegal but cruel) I managed to get her to calm slightly, even though the look on her face was pure murderous.

To be fair, I have to assume she has very little education. She’s also not likely happy with her lot in life, but I have to imagine it had precious little to do with what she wanted.

Even though I’m at the bottom again, and I will spend my last 500 pesos ($15 Canadian) on cat food, I’m still pretty happy. I am very optimistic that things will turn around for me, simply because they have to, eventually.

I’ve met some great people and learned a lot, mostly about myself. I’ve travelled a lot of miles, emotionally and physically, from my little home on the prairies. I’m rolling the dice in paradise and hoping for double sixes.

Would I still come here, knowing what I know?

Yes

 

Landing

Our view, about to land in Puetra Plata for the first time and the start of a brand new life

58 Bitches

Just chiming in to say hello and let you know I’m fine. I am having potato chips and cake for breakfast and having wine later; the cats will get tuna.

Today is my birthday. I’m 58 today. I like my birthday. Facebook actually makes it rather special, especially as I live away from friends now.

I like to reflect on my past year and wonder where I will be for the next. Will I be here? Not everyone makes it.

It’s been quite the year. Ups and downs, fear and euphoria, magical and manic. I had a job for a while and then lost it. That was difficult, even tho I almost completely hated it, it was steady income.

Just this past month I lost a long time friend. It was quite a blow to all of us. It was most unexpected. We don’t all make it. Ageing is not for sissies.

But despite the downs, I’ve managed to survive. Thanks to some very kind and generous friends, who overwhelm me with their kindness. Thanks to the ability to work from home, I can make money without having to put pants on.

I’m feeling particularly grateful this year, as things seem to be on the upswing. I’ve had a few carrots dangled in front of my face in way of potential jobs and I’m feeling buoyed by optimism because I still see a future for me. I still have plans and goals, and I always believe ‘the happiest day of my life hasn’t happened yet.

 

Happy Birthday To Me!

 

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Site Unseen

Ah, is it that tie of the year already? When the fine folks at WordPress are threatening to close my site and take away my domain name. Well, I guess they will have to.

I’m back down to zero funds and this won’t be a priority right now. I don’t know how to explain to the cats they can’t eat so this may be it for a while.

If I lose the name then so be it, although I doubt there is a long line waiting to use catzntatz anyhow so I will take my chances.

I won’t bore you with the details, I’ve been without income for several months now. I have had a bit of work from some job sites and am blessed to have a friend or two who understand and can help me.

Last time I went through this, it worked out, so I am confident this time it will, too. It’s just very stressful but I’m not succumbing to the misery that came last time.

I’m trying my best and hopefully will be able to revive the site soon. I’m not sure what happens to all the posts here, though, maybe I should keep a few I like.

Anyhow, to quote Van Morrison, if I don’t see you through the week, I’ll see you through the window.

 

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Chancer Blog

Here’s my helper, writing outside on New Year’s Eve morning. The power is out, but is it? It is really?

 

This marks my fifth Christmas here, I can hardly believe it myself. I’m still stopped in my tracks in amazement all the time, the things that you never get used to. It’s important to feel wonder at everyday things.

I’m doing a cleanse to mark the end of this year. I feel I need to shed it all off of me, glean what I can use and discard the rest. I’m not doing the type of cleanse that makes you shit out a wagon wheel you had in grade four. It’s a different type of voiding.

I started by removing a few people from my facebook. It was so exhilarating, I went in a took off a few more. I went back a few days later to sweep up a few stragglers. I’m not done, but I’m done for now.

It’s not that I don’t like them, or that I lost interest, but I also did lose interest. I just really feel like I need to move forward. Many of the people I removed pay little to no attention to me anyhow, so I doubt a lot of them even noticed.

Some of them were dead, and that’s a strange sensation, removing the people who are no longer here. Many of these ‘friends’ are people I remember as a teenage and snow they are grandparents. It’s nice to connect and catch up but that’s enough. You know where I am if you need me.

I like my life and often feel distracted by what others are projecting, your kids or grandkids or your holiday. Yeah, it’s nice but I’m trying to focus more on my own life. Not what I project it to be, the real one.

I cleared out all my emails, too. Some were there from people who are no longer alive. There were a few that popped up while mass deleting from my job this past year. It was a strange sensation, to see them.

The company use a cartoon-like character that is red and looks really angry. It always bothered me, to open an email and see this angry face. Did they think it was helping? I used to get stressed each time I saw it, and I am truly relieved I don’t have to see it any longer.

I had an interesting flood of reaction to it, and none of it was pleasant. As much as I miss the weekly payday, I really don’t miss the job. It’s made me more determined to become more self-self-sufficient without the aid of agencies or these writing mills that are just factories.

I’m taking a page or two out of the Book of Cat. They are content and feel none of the stress of not knowing where the next meal is coming from. They know exactly where it’s coming from. The cupboard beside the stove.

Jang hands

Absolute purfection. Look how he crosses his hands.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first moved here, and frankly, I still don’t. But every year is still a wonder and a marvel and I love it. Not every second, but I’m pleased that I’ve been able to live here and function and I’m sitting outside in the warmth.

My power has been out for about three hours already and I love that my neighbours a few doors down are using their precious generator power to blast music. It’s New Year’s Eve, so what if it’s not yet noon? That’s how we roll here.

I’m making some changes and taking what I’ve learned to move forward. I can do that. I’m changing the way I think about things, the language I use, (not the swears and stuff, I’m keeping that) and deeming myself worthy.

I certainly learned a lot this past year. About myself, about friends, like who is and isn’t. About how to survive and that I admire myself a lot more than I give myself credit for.

I’m at the end and the beginning. I’m reset to 000 and starting again, but better.

Here’s to shedding the old and finding the new.

2018, you sashay away.

Merry Tuesday

If you celebrate, if not, just have a Tuesday. I’m ignoring as much as I can about this season. Last year sucked a lot, and I swore it would be better this year. The middle of the year got marginally better, as I had a regular (mostly) payday, but I hated earning it.

This year I’m broke and just hovering at zero, but at least I’m not crying and thinking about killing myself and the cats. That was really difficult. So, in a sense, it is better this year. The mood, but not the situation.

Many years ago, when I moved to Vancouver and it was too far to participate in regular Christmas traditions, insomuch as my family had them, this season became so much easier. After my mother passed, my dad and I claimed we didn’t care if we had a Christmas or not.

It was kind of like when you and someone else are expressing yourselves and both say it at the same time. My dad and I did that. ‘I don’t give a shit’ ‘Whew’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Yes’ ‘Whew’ ‘Me, too’ ‘Well, I’m glad we had this talk’ ‘You hang up first’.

it was so much easier after that. I didn’t have to spend a shitload of money I didn’t have and be happy about a bunch of crap I was receiving that only proved after X amount of years, my parents had no idea who I was.

I thought about this past year and I had a few really good days, a few weeks and even months, in fact. If there is anything I have learned from life and these forced holidays are enjoy the good when it’s there. It won’t always be.

I decided that those days a few months ago when I had money and was drinking wine on my balcony and my cats had tuna were enough to carry me through this stupid season. Why does it have to be dictated when I can enjoy myself?

When I had income, I bought a large bag of cat food, but not for my cats. I carry some with me and when I see a stray dog or cat, which is always, I give it to them. I often buy a can of dog food, just to have on me for these poor souls, as well.

My Tuesday is okay, today. I still have a bit of food in the house, the cats are fed and it’s a beautiful day here. I can hear music and people celebrating and I am always acutely aware there are always people worse off than I am.

Happy Tuesday, from Jango, Chance and me.

 

JangoChanceMee

 

 

 

Customer Service This!

It’s really just annoying and boring, all at the same time. This past week or so saw me call to change my password, just to have the internet stop working. The modem was fine, my computer was fine, but whatever Juan did at his end made it stop working.

 

He insisted that he did everything right. He insisted it was my computer. I tried to explain that I was already connected to the internet with my other modem. He wasn’t hearing me. I got fed up and told him to just cancel the service.

But of course it’s never that easy, is it? He said I had to take it to one of the major offices, return the equipment and cancel it all from there.

Sigh

One of the offices is in a mall, where I initially got connected, but it’s in a mall. it’s also two cars, which means, two public cabs. Normally I’mm all over that but I’ve been sick the past couple of weeks and was in no mood.

I decided on the office I originally wrote about, as it’s closer and I can walk. It’s a long walk but what the heck. I’ve been sick in the apartment for a few weeks.

The first thing she did was test the modem, even though I told her it was fine. Then she showed me how she could get online using said modem, all of which I believed. At one point she just got up and left and stood chatting to the woman at the reception desk. A woman, by the way, who was clearly about three minutes pregnant and stood rubbing her belly and her back. There were also pictures of a fetus scan plastered at all the desks, but I digress.

After about a half an hour, they sent me packing, complete with my modem. There was a nearly $300 fine for cancelling the service, even though I have had the service for three years.  Also, slow customer service where you are sitting down in air conditioning is absolutely fine. Take your time. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

I tried to call a few more times but instead of transferring me to the English speaking Juan, they just hung up on me.

This morning, fed up, I sed the translator and wrote out a message of my dilemma, popped in a liquor store bag, of course I did, and simply dropped it on the kiosk counter where I pay the bill.

Sister was staring at her phone, of course she was, so I dropped it on the counter and just fucked off.  But seriously? What’s she going to do? Come tearing out of her kiosk to tackle me and make me take the modem back? No.

Problem solved.

 

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Adventures in Internet

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A few months back, my internet wasn’t working. The lights were on, but as the kids say, no one was home. I wasn’t too concerned, as it’s not common, but not uncommon, either. This was a Friday and I ran some errands and then went to relax on my bed with a book, rather enjoying the excuse of not being able to work or worry about the world spinning off its axis. Or missing out on pictures of some shit I didn’t need to see.

I ended up falling asleep and didn’t wake up until later in the afternoon. I decided to not worry until the next day and rather enjoyed myself with some wine on my balcony, watching my world go by.

The next I called my internet provider and was told they were doing an upgrade and I have to return my modem for a new, better shinier one. I packed up my modem and hiked down to the shopping plaza where I pay the bill.

I was a bit hung over and thought the free air would help. Of course, by fresh air, I mean stench of garbage and black clouds of exhaust in the heat. There was a lot of confusion trying to communicate until a woman in line got out her phone and helped us out with her interpreter’s app.

Not long after a woman came along who spoke English and she finally told me I had to go to the main office. This was the last thing I wanted to do all hungover on a Saturday morning. There was a young man in line who worked at the mall as a driver and he told our interpreter he would drive me there for 100 pesos. She said it’s a moto.

That is a motorcycle taxi.  used to take them in Sosua but I hadn’t here. I have graduated to public cabs. Anyhow, I agreed and off we went.

Holy heart attack, Batman! The weaving through the traffic and cutting between cars was quite enough to wake me up thank you very much. At one point we went between a semi truck and a van and I had to check twice to make sure I still had my kneecaps. When we got close enough to see the building he cut through a parking lot, realized it was closed and then just drove over the concrete parking blocks to get back to the main road.

I decided that was close enough and got off. I hiked up the hill to the office and was shocked to the core to see at least 60 people there. Everyone there with their modems. I took a number and then stood against the wall. Finally, a seat became available and I got to sit down for my three-hour wait, My three-hour wait. Sing it to the theme of Gilligan’s Island.

They had brought out extra chairs to accommodate everyone but people showed up with two and three children in tow. It was brutal, but I was sitting and it was air-conditioned. At one point, the young lad behind me was talking on his phone in English so I asked if he would help me when my turn came, just in case.

It was a long afternoon of waiting and waiting and I had no phone, no book and no water.

Turns out English wasn’t the problem. It was me not having my passport. It had never occurred to me I would need it. After a lot of pleading they let me off with an expired Ontario Driver’s licence.

Once I was out I was so relieved it was all over that it dawned on me I hadn’t really thought about how I would get home. I walked.

Fast forward to last week. I went down to the plaza to pay my bill at the kiosk and the lad there pointed out he didn’t have a computer. I went away and came back a few days later to find the kiosk gutted and a note on the front. The only part I could make out was ‘sorry for the inconvenience’. They aren’t.

The closest place for me to pay the bill is at the main office, which is not convenient. At all. I’m not walking all that way and it’s two cars to get there and then two more to get home.

I went to pay my phone yesterday, a different company and asked the lad there if he spoke English. He did.

Long story short, they two lads that were here to do my installation spent a lot of time picking cat hair out of their eyes, noses and mouths. But at least I will be able to pay the bill across the street.

Interesting side note. They called me today to confirm my address and all that, and I missed the call because I had no idea how to answer my phone. I got a new phone in July and this is the first call I had. Sad, lonely cat lady.