What is Drastic + Dramatic

Friday, January 22, 2010

Who knew

When you can't go into the already-cramped office area because you're not allowed to, but you want to use the Internet, well then just huddle at the neighboring trailer where no one can see you (except the curious grounds workers) and pilfer the internet from outside. mwahaha ha ahem. My fingers are cold...

Another Day

So, I have arrived in Whistler. It’s seriously way beautiful. It’s about a two hour drive from Vancouver and the last hour or so is spectacular. After a bend in the road, looking over a very far drop the ocean comes into view, but it’s surrounded by mountains and has big, rocky islands spotted throughout. It’s important that I keep my eyes on the windy road, however, so I haven’t taken many lengthy looks. But the snap shots that my eyes reported to my brain were very agreeable. It reminds me of Alaska and Provo Canyon kinda mixed together. Wednesday was the first drive where I took up a group of people with me to Whistler. After dropping off my bags in my room (I’ll get to that in a minute) I went back to park the bus. The way we parked—wait, back up. Where we have available to us to park is dismal. We parked in there facing away from the exit and I voiced that it might be better if we at least angled ourselves the other way to make it easier to get out. The other drivers agreed. I moved my bus and when the next driver went to move his, stuck. So we figured we’d get that one unstuck in the morning and leave the others as they were.

When we returned in the morning at 9AM, the bus I had parked moved out perfectly. Another had been parked behind the others so it moved out just fine as well. The stuck one wasn’t going anywhere, even after half an hour of chains and sand. The chains burrowed nicely into the icy dirt making a cozy dual tire cradle for the bus to rest in until the tow truck giant wrecker tow mobile came. Oh, and the other bus that I hadn’t parked the night before but would be assigned to for the day was also stuck. So we had two stuck buses and a tow truck on the way. We waited in the little driver’s lounge and drank hot chocolate and three drivers against one dispatcher discussed Mormonism with another worker. It was pleasant enough, but she kept saying, “WOW” to anything pretty significant like “uh huh, you guys are nuts.” Haha But it was a fine discussion. The guy driver next to me went for the kill, ya know, right into the Joseph Smith seeing God story and I, who am very not ashamed of that story, still thought it just wasn’t the right setting for the whole explanation, but whatever, he went for it. Sometimes, in my personal opinion, ‘missionary mode’ is better left to missionaries, and ‘simple answers until further questions’ can be for the non-full time missionary members to practice, showing mostly a good, happy, real example of gospel living. I like to keep conversations real, two-sided, open for people that I’ll be working with instead of shooting out the whole story first chance they ask. But, best of all, just ask for and follow the Spirit.

Aaaanyway, so since it took about two hours longer than expected to back out the other two buses, Merilee and I have the day “off” until 4pm. We’re doing laundry and sleeping. Well, I’m obviously not sleeping at the moment, but I will. Gonna change the laundry first. I got pretty nice rusty chain juice all over my pants this morning. We’ll see if that comes out.

Our rooms are about ten by ten by ten. Four more feet than my body’s length all around? Yeah, that might be about right. There’s a door to get in through, a six-foot tall locker, a five foot tall boxy closet of sorts, a desk attached to the wall under a window and a bunk bed. I’m on top. So, all things considered…it’s not terrible. At least we only have two people in here. I heard that Security workers have four to a room. Yow. There are individual communal showers, if that makes sense, public restroom toilet stalls, even some urinals even though our trailer is all chicks inside. And there’s free laundry! And I have to go change mine. So, this is where I’ll end so I can sleep. A la prochaine!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week One

Well, almost one week anyway...okay actually five days. I've done mostly sitting and I've made over $700 after taxes already. :) Cool.

Okay, so to explain the first day's post...We didn't get a whole lot of "how to" information (a pattern that has continued solid throughout the trip) about our driver's log book before we started on the road. EVEN when instead of leaving at 7AM we left at 10AM, we still didn't know what we were doing and really even where we were going except following the first bus. The bus that my driving companion Merilee and I were in had a governor at 70 (meaning we couldn't go over 70 mph in case you didn't know) and soon we lost those in front that could go faster. I was quasi-sleeping in the rear when Merilee kind of panic exited and it was one of those unfortunate exits that doesn't have an on ramp to get back onto the freeway. So we eventually got back to the freeway and to the waiting drivers, but there was no intercommunication among drivers and it was a real mess. I'm not very good at mind reading. I've been trying to work on it, but it's not coming very naturally. It would come in handy about every five minutes here, because no two minds are alike, neither any two plans, two decisions, two final words.... Yaaaaa! It's somewhat frustrating. But I'm still having a good time. Optimism ruins bad situations and I'm really having a great time. I just love Merilee, she's awesome.

Okay, well so we were driving. I started driving Thursday at about 5:30 in Boise, ID. We drove for about two hours and guess where that led us? Le Grande! Cool! I called my Grandpa but he was stuck at home without Grandma and couldn't come see me (too bad I didn't know we would be stopping...I wonder if anyone knew...) but it was still fun to talk to him. Then we continued on. our log books had us logged on as "on duty" since 7AM, so when we got to Washington I had been "on duty" already almost fifteen hours so when the amaaaaaaaaaaazing weigh station guard checked our log books, his thin understanding of motor coach road rules wrapped us into parking and bringing in our paper work. He printed off some sheet of rules that were really vague and hard to understand on the fly but he relied on them like the Bible for a just punishment. Technically, however, if the right rules be read correctly, we weren't over our hours of allowed driving time for the day. See, drivers (truck or passenger vehicle) are allowed only so many hours on the clock a day and in the week. If you go over it could mean you're working too hard and could get drowsy, etc., etc. So, it's heavily tracked, regulated and punished. So I was one that got caught. The awwwwwwwwwwesome guard took us all through the process with this little "my tights are too tight" attitude, not really listening to our questions for clarification, just pointing to the omniscient piece of paper, and even covering his ears with his hands when my supervisor tried to get something cleared up. Wow. He decided he would go "easy" on us and he only fined us for going over 14 hours...which didn't make any sense to anyone. And another driver found the green book of official federal rules later and found out where the guard was wrong. So, we'll get off the hook, but we still have to plead our way out of it with a judge and stuff. Me and my noodle-nerve self were crying in front of the guard and the other drivers. I always get teary when I'm getting disciplined for something and it frustrates me even more and I lose control of my tears even more....I think it's terribly lame. But my throat ties in about eight knots if I try to suppress it and then I'll end up crying anyway, so I just let it out.

So, he finished the lame, lengthy process of giving me a lame, pricey ticket and I went back to my bus. Merilee would have to drive from there because I was off the clock until 9:20 the next morning. It was about 11 then. We drove to the next town, Kennewick, and it wasn't until 1:30 that we were checked into a motel and 2AM when we got to bed. LONG DAY.

Well anyway, here in Vancouver it's pretty cool. The first thing they warned us about was to not walk within 8-10 feet of the perimeter fences where our buses will be parked because of the heroin addicts throwing needles over the fence. They do it in anger because the Olympic committee took that port-side lot that formerly had abandoned warehouses on it that the addicts used as hide-outs of sorts, so it's mostly an act of vengeance. So, we need to watch out. I see bums EVERYWHERE and it makes me sad. Drugs are so powerful it's just not even fair....there are so few people that aren't mixed into some addiction or dependence on some substance not meant for consumption. Really sad.

Well, there's really too much to say... I'm in a hotel called the Shaughnessy and its theme is "cruise ship." We have individual rooms with a pull out couch bed, a bathroom, a sink with cupboards and drawers and a microwave, a television, a two seater table and a patio. Neat idea, sure, but a definite weird smell and sense of isolation that I really don't like. It's like a slightly souped up camper. Except this room I'm not worried about crashing into icebergs and sinking. At least that's nice...

So turns out I won't be staying in Vancouver, I'll be in the mountain town Whistler. It's the olympic venue for most skiing events and I'll get to see it tomorrow. We've just been training so far, which includes a lot of information, misinformation and re-information and sitting. And donuts. So I'll be disembarking the Shaughnessy and headed to a truck trailer with bunk beds in Whistler. Huzzah. :) The adventures seem to be endless for the 2010 Olympics.

Until next time. I have to wake up much too early tomorrow.
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