Return from Ruralopolis!

Ruralopolis sure is pretty

Ruralopolis sure is pretty

Well, as I mentioned in the previous post, I have returned from Ruralopolis. I have returned, my friends, only to find Kate had her baby when I wasn’t around to cover it, Jennifer Aniston is probably married, Dennis Farina is dead, and the Daily Dot got hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army. Fuck, that’s the last time I go on vacation! Everything falls to pieces without me.

But for those of you who’ve been following my Flickr stream, you’ll know I haven’t been idle. I’ve been dashing about from Hither, a sprawling metropolis featuring actual hitching posts, to Yawn, the megalopolis which boasts not one! but two! mini golf courses, and taking pictures all along the way and particularly of the food. So I didn’t leave Vancouver behind me completely. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of entertainment, and was not disappointed. One night we could listen to the coyotes while sitting in the hot tub sipping wine, and that was quite enough excitement for me after the year I’ve had.

Imagine, then, my astonishment to come across an amazing musical duo, deep in the heart of the northernmost reaches of the Great Sonora Desert! These guys apparently play sold-out stadium shows all over, in the big urban centres, from the Spallumcheen to Olalla, not neglecting the Rez-taurant in Ruralopolis. Enjoy their soothing sounds and sophisticated syncopations as they lay down some slick lounge grooves.

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The Vacation So Far

For those of you who haven’t been following along on the Food Blog, here’s what the vacation looks like so far. I’m due at a crab fest on the Island on Saturday, but unless SOMEBODY pays me before then, I’ll be trapped here. Oh, poor me.

As you can see, it’s a nonstop grind. Oh, the pressure!

A thousand words, right here

Electric Avenue closed

Electric Avenue closed

This is basically the last three months of my life, right here. Thank god for good friends who are easily prevailed upon, even when they don’t think I’m prevailing (like certain meteorological conditions, I am always prevailing, only sometimes you’re so used to it you just don’t see it any more). The latest is Lydia volunteering to do my taxes and passport application, which is pretty damn boss of her, as they are both one of those things I keep meaning to get around to, by which I mean my life would be so much better off if I didn’t have to do them or I just like died before I had to find my T4s and my birth certificate, which I’m sure is somewhere in all of the boxes I moved unless the guys just crumbled it up and threw it on the floor but I doubt it. Then again, why do I? Because…see above thousand words.

icecoaster only lasted five months. winecoaster lasted a month. We shall see how long hobocoaster lasts. I have been heartened to note that God has been saving the Lotto 649 jackpot for me and it’s up over 40 million now. If I win I shall still be hobocoaster, but with an entourage because I’m bloody sick of carting this laptop around. Maybe I’ll get a laptop so small it fits on a wristwatch; yeah, that’s it, because only the rich wear wrist watches anymore, to show people they’re too important to carry cellphones. Oooh, and being rich would really suit my friends who love to talk on the phone, because then I’d hire people to answer my phone and they could talk to them and all complain about me to each other and I’d even pay their long distance bills, and everyone would be happy especially me, for then I would never have to answer the phone. Not that I do now, but somehow it’s leaked out that I have one and haven’t bought the actual, like, phone plan to turn it from an iPod into a phone yet somehow people don’t realize that the reason I don’t do this is not simply that I’m cheap (tho I am, yea verily, very, very cheap) but because I do not wish to receive calls. Ever. From anyone. Under any circumstances.

The lottery people, I assure you, will write. They will email. They will text. And, if they don’t, someone I know will surely say, “hey, didn’t you see the numbers on the lottery? Didn’t you say God owed you? How’d that turn out?” and then they’d never live it down when I read out the winning numbers unless I’m in my old neighborhood or the pubs my friends tend to favour, as neither locale is conducive to personal safety when one has just announced one has a winning lottery ticket on one’s person (and yeah, sure the Barking Parrot is in an expensive hotel, but it’s still full of people pining away for Slack Alice’s, whether because they miss it or because it burned down before they were old enough to audition their pole dance routine there).

But where was I? Oh, right, how was your week?

YOLO HOBO

space explorer

And you want HOW MUCH for it?

Introducing the new blog category: hobocoaster!

Regular readers will be familiar with the story to this point; for the rest, we present a short recap.

About eight weeks or more ago, I made contact with a landlord in a beautiful small town in the BC wine country, a place I’d been spending many weeks a year already, and had developed a circle of friends. One of those friends knew a woman who was moving out of her place April 1, and the place was, quite frankly and without my typical exaggeration (moi? NEVER) absolutely perfect for me. The grounds were 14 acres of vineyards with horse pens and a flat riding arena, about three blocks from the community INDOOR riding arena (necessary in Canuckistan winters). The view? It was stunning. The house? It was immaculate. The horse pens? Profitable, since every horse on the property would basically lower my rent by $150 a month, and there was room for six horses; in other words, free rent plus cash.

The landlord? As it turned out, ambivalent.

He dodged the issue of emailing me a lease agreement. He waited till I got to town to even ask for references (he’d pooh-poohed them earlier).

Oh, ask the Queen of Social Media for references? Okay. I gave him references from:

  • The ex-president of the local riding club attesting to my ability to handle horses
  • The former head of the local Farmer’s Market and current head of the Children’s Festival
  • My ex-boss
  • A banker
  • A Justice of the Peace
  • A Judge
  • An internet millionaire
  • The Heir to a Fucking Kingdom if he’d bothered to google the man
  • A Blind Widow.
  • and more

Top that, bitches.

It was not what he wanted. What he wanted, apparently, was a way out. Seven days before I was supposed to move in, he emailed me saying he wanted to finish the renovations on the house without anyone inside. Okay. Fine. I get that. Nobody wants the house to slide down into the lake because you didn’t reinforce the foundation or deal with the erosion problem.

But more than a week’s notice would have been handy.

My last two emails have gone unanswered, and they were actually far more polite than you imagine: they were along the lines of “oh, so should I sign on a different place for April 1?” “Uh, should I sign on a different place for May 1 or, like, what?” And no, not being one to hold my breath on those, noppers.

Which brings us to the situation I was in a few days: Paying ten bucks a day for storage in Vancouver, with no home in sight, either in Vangroover or Pentikistan, thanks to SOMEONE leaving things rather to the last minute.

Which brings us to the League of Superheroes:

  • Ted volunteered to drive my stuff from Vancouver to Penticton, find the cheapest prices on everything and make all the reservations and carry things on his credit card. I tell ya, thank GOD for kind-hearted friends who are also easily manipulated. Where would I in particular be without them?
  • Ava showed up at 9:30am despite arm injury to do her level best to help, and not only pushed about a metric ton worth of trolleys but also kept everyone’s spirits up.
  • Cathy hucked aforesaid ton of old paperbacks and Vanity Fairs with the occasional case of Starbucks mugs and a vampire carved of human bone here and there onto the dollies, working like a goddam longshoreman despite being a petite, middle-aged blind widow. Parse that, Vancouverites who didn’t show up: a blind widow moved approximately a ton of boxes, and because of later developments with the truck I am relatively sure that’s an accurate weight, too. I think Cathy is about 130 by the way.
  • Bruce M. Campbell, no NOT the Bruce Campbell you’re thinking of. The other one, but every bit as much a hero. Soldiered on despite pulling some unspecified muscle I didn’t even hear about till later, and it must be said I truly appreciate a man who is willing to work up an actual sweat prior to having a client meeting. Not everyone has that level of comfort with themselves.

They showed up on a holiday Monday to huck boxes into the truck, which we SERIOUSLY overloaded as it turned out, and that at the ungodly hour of 9:30am no less. And I hadn’t been paid, so I didn’t even buy them coffee or beer, although if I win this thirty million in the 6/49 it’ll be espresso champagne cocktails I’ll be buying them instead of coffee and beer, I tell ya.

After a harrowing journey (it’s a cliche, but given the amount of time the truck’s undercarriage spent in contact with the asphalt not without literal accuracy) down a Blackcomb-like slope to Highway 1 and a long, slow, wallowing journey up to Penticton, then a bus the next day back to Vancouver, making my weekly road miles something around 1400, things appear to have stabilized.

So, the stuff is in a storage locker in Penticton now, at less than half the price of Vancouver storage.. I’m in Vancouver, since I volunteered to house and cat sit for a friend who’s flying East to deal with family drama for the month of April. After that, presuming my passport’s come through (Ron, that’s your cue to Contact the Authoritahs) I’ve been invited down to Portland, my absolute favorite American city, to stay with Lorelle, a god of the WordPressosphere. Lorelle and I met at WordCamp Whistler, when she, the keynote speaker, walked up to me, said, “You don’t look like you’re phased by much,” to which I assented, and then explained she had a shoulder injury and couldn’t reach her back, so would I mind reaching up under her shirt and pulling down her bra band.

Some women, I tell ya, know how to make an entrance.

And, she assures me, the rural confines of the property are not so uncivilized as to fail to contain a hot tub and a junker car for my own use. Well, that’s a relief: I was losing sleep, I tell ya.

So, since I’m hoping to volunteer at Hollyhock for September, that takes care of April (house-sitting), May/June perhaps July in Portland, August can be spent annoying and sponging off friends on Vancouver Island or even backpacking in Europe since if I do get a passport it’ll be an EU one thanks to being born in France, September is for Hollyhock on Cortez Island (and looking for Brother 12’s treasure!), and that leaves me at loose ends in October.

In October, average rents in Penticton fall by about a hundred dollars a month or more, because The Season is over. Which means an opportunity for moi, coming off the high of the opportunity of not paying rent all summer.

So far: so good?

I’ve found religion!

Gin in Heaven

Gin in Heaven

Halleluiah!

Well, thank god I’ve found religion, otherwise I’d have made a sacrifice or two to Cthulhu this weekend.

It seems the prospective landlord of Panorama Palace, with whom I’ve been in communication for something like six weeks, has decided he wants to work on the house and doesn’t want to rent it out until those repairs are done.

Great.

Super.

I mean, nobody wants to slide into the lake in a brutal, bone-crushing avalanche in their sleep because of a flaw in the foundation, but they’d like to have known about this prior to eight days before move-in date.

Now I have another month at least to spend in limbo, house-sitting, couch-surfing, and whatever-worksing and in the meantime the prime time to get horses in the boarding business is slipping by…

So, just in case there was any doubt…