Sick People, Stay The Fu*k Home

Back in June, I wrote a blog post about not going to work sick. In Avoid Going To Work Sick I spoke of how both Kim and I were sick as a result of her coworkers coming to work sick.

For a number of years, Kim has worked two jobs (because that’s what she likes to do) and about ten days ago a coworker at her primary job came to work sick, coughing, hacking, sniffing and so on. It was suggested that they go home so as not to spread it, however they refused to do so. As a result, Kim and a couple others caught it, resulting in Kim missing several days of work, from both jobs.

Early this week she was feeling pretty good, having got over most of the aftereffects of the illness. Two days ago, while at her second job, one of her coworkers came in coughing, hacking, you know the drill. Suggested they go home, refused to do so.

Now, once again, Kim is sick, already missing work at her secondary job, and most likely to miss work at her primary job if it doesn’t clear up in the next day or so.

We have also learned that at least two more people from her secondary job are now off work sick as well.

So… who is affected by all this.

About half a dozen employees are now missing work (translated – income). Two employers are having to juggle workers or have their businesses run short of staff, resulting in lack of production or possible loss of business, both of which impact their bottom line.

Then we have the ripple effect, with different issues created in the workers families, particularly should they get sick as well.

When I was an employer for a good number of years, I would have my employees stay home for a day or two when sick. As an employer, there are different ways to make sure the employee did not suffer hardships for missed time. I felt that to be better than having a larger portion of my company absent simultaneously. And I guess I was a good employer, as my employees always seemed to agree.

Today however, even with good employers, that is quite often not the case.

The whole issue really pisses me off. Hence this blog post, and my request.

Sick people, stay the fu*k home.

Is Your Space Clear?

Yesterday evening we had an incident in our area when emergency services responded to the residence for one of our neighbours. Although it required a person to be taken to hospital, I understand that they will be okay.

The reason for this wee blog post is something I observed during the incident, and what I had not considered before. I imagine that many of you may not have either.

As is the norm, fire arrived first, followed shortly by an EMS supervisor vehicle. Once they entered the residence, to assist the individual, I assume they determined that the utilization of a stretcher would be necessary after the ambulance arrived.

Fire Clearing Snow

Now comes the part which I hadn’t really thought about previously. We had recently gotten our first snowfall and I saw one of the fire crew go over and shovel the sidewalk so it would be clear for the stretcher. Then he went and got some salt and/or sand and put it down so the paramedics and others would not slip while transporting the casualty. When the ambulance arrived, the sidewalk was done, and they were immediately able to stage the stretcher at the residence door. A while later the casualty was brought out, placed on the stretcher and then into the ambulance, with all parties having good footing.

Now, all of this highlighted to me, and I hope to you as well, how important it can be to keep your sidewalks and driveways clear of snow in the winter, as much as possible.

As well, it displayed to me that emergency workers have many more boxes to tick while performing their duties than we may think. For myself, I have great respect for all emergency workers, and I do my best to thank them for all that they do.

We all more or less take for granted our work or living spaces, both inside and outside, and tend not to think of emergency workers trying to maneuver themselves and their gear in those spaces.

I suggest that this be a reminder to check your spaces just in case you, or others, need emergency assistance, to make your space more accessible.

I know I will.

And thanks to all those who make it their profession to help us when we need it.

Thoughts and Considerations

Nine years ago this week, Kim and I left Malaysia after a six-week visit. It had been my first time to Malaysia, and it was a most wonderful experience.

Not only did I get to see, for the first time, the country and city where my wife had been born and grew up, I got to meet, in person for the first time, the two daughters from her side of our blended family and our grandchildren. That was so special to me.

Since then, I have been back to Malaysia four more times, in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020. Kim and I went for four weeks in 2015, in 2017 we flew over together with Kim staying four weeks and me for eleven. In 2019 I was back in Malaysia for eight weeks by myself. Kim and I traveled for six weeks in 2020 and were joined by daughter Anita and her husband Aaron for the first three weeks, allowing her to meet her sisters in person for the first time.

And then came Covid-19. And it came fast. We actually had to cut our visit short by ten days so that we could get home. Then we had to isolate for two weeks and then Kim got laid off. But that’s a story for another time.

It is now closing in on three years since we’ve been to Malaysia. And we really have no idea of when we’ll be there again. No idea of when we’ll see our daughters and grandchildren in person once more.

Now I started this blog post more than two weeks ago and walked away, leaving it uncompleted. Following that it just sat when my brain kinda went blah. Until today.

To be honest, I have been feeling great frustration within myself. I have things to do, why am I not doing them! I created this “Wee Internet Empire” thing so that I could keep myself involved in something. So what if few people seem to pay much attention.

In reality it’s more than that.

Yes, I want to be in Malaysia, see our daughters and grandkids, but even more I want Kim to get to be with them. She worries so much about them as they have struggled through Covid (most of them actually caught it at one time or another) and the economic turmoil the pandemic caused throughout Malaysia.

And still more than that.

Pre-Covid I had been placed on the list to have a complete hip replacement. As the medical system was stretched so thin during the pandemic it took quite a while to work my way through all the required tests and procedures to be ready for my surgery to be scheduled. At the end of 2021 it was. However, just prior I had developed a bit of an issue on my lower leg and the surgery was cancelled until it could be dealt with. Long story short, ten months later we are still dealing with it. Once dealt with, I’ll have to begin redoing some of the tests and procedures to prepare for surgery as they must be done within a certain time period pre-surgery.

Don’t get me wrong, all is not doom and gloom.

We have been out on the motorcycle over the summer (limited a bit by my leg condition) and have enjoyed traveling around in the Mercedes convertible. We often enjoy our regular dim sum and get together with fellow veterans on occasion. We see our daughter and husband here in Edmonton, my sister from Calgary, while our son from England and his wife came for a lovely visit.

I guess it kind of boils down to the lingering cloud of uncertainty. It seems to fluctuate between shades lighter and darker grey, never becoming black however white remains elusive.

We are trying to make some decisions. Do we hold off on traveling until all is complete, leg issues and surgery. Or do we call our travel lady and book a trip. Certainly something we are trying to work out.

Our future path remains to be seen. I am hoping though, that by sharing these thoughts with you, my readers, it will help me get back on track doing some of the other things which I should be working on.

Thanks so much for reading. Your feedback is always welcome, as is your support.

If you have not already done so, you can keep up with my “Wee Internet Empire” by subscribing to my newsletter, “Old Guy, New Tricks“.

Until next time, be well and take care of yourself.

A “New To Me” Car

So, just over a month ago I got a “new to me” car.

I wasn’t looking for another vehicle and really, didn’t need another vehicle. We already had a van that Kim drives as well as a car and a motorcycle that I drive. So, why get another vehicle? How did this happen?

Well, every morning as part of my online routine I have a look at Facebook Marketplace, mostly out of curiosity, just to see what’s there. I saw this vehicle, had a look, and moved on, as happens many times. Of course, because I had looked at it, Facebook made sure it appeared on other occasions as well. One day I noticed that the price had decreased quite a bit, so, I figured, why not check it out.

I contacted the seller and arranged to have a look at it. It was an older vehicle and appeared to be in excellent shape with very few flaws. The owner stated his bottom line for the vehicle. Okay. I made no commitment, and that evening mentioned it to Kim, showing her the posted ad. She said she would like to see it in person.

So, an appointment was made, and we went over to have a look, taking it for a test drive as well. When we returned, I was looking over the vehicle, checking things out and Kim was talking to the owner. As I joined them, he said that he would take an amount that was a fair bit lower than his “bottom line”. Kim seems to have this ability with people.

The end result was that we drove home the proud possessors of a new to us vehicle.

So, what is this vehicle you ask.

It is a 1999 Merecedes SLK 230 Hardtop Convertible, a two-seater sports car. Twenty-three years old and only 73,500 kilometres. Oh, and I should mention, because it was originally from Japan, it is right-hand drive and talks to us in Japanese on startup.

It was so nice to get back into a convertible, having had three at various times previously, and it being a true sports car was a bonus. It runs as good as it looks and we are enjoying it as much as possible before the ground turns white, at which time both the Mercedes and the motorcycle will buddy up in the garage until Spring.

Well, now it seems that I have become another old guy who drives around in a Mercedes.

However, we are realizing more and more that we need to do more of the things that we enjoy while we are able to. Of course, it will be different experiences for different people. Our health and financial aspects will differ, but the principle remains the same.

We certainly have our ups and downs, however as long as life continues, we’ll do our best to live it from a positive perspective.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy this blog post and the rest of what I share on my Wee Internet Empire. By all means subscribe to my newsletter and keep up with what’s happening.

Rest In Peace – Dallas Boyko

This past weekend another senseless death was in the local news. Unfortunately a great many deaths are senseless, however this one affected me a bit more than usual, even though I have no personal contact or knowledge of the person who died.

Dallas Boyko was a 51 year old paramedic, driving in an on-duty ambulance with her partner at 4am on a Saturday morning, when a suspected impaired driver crossed the centre line and struck the ambulance head on. She and the driver of the other vehicle died, her partner was injured. Here is the CTV Edmonton news story. (Photo from Facebook – Emergency Services Memorial Page)

This story really struck me for a couple of reasons. A very good, long time friend of mine, on duty as a paramedic, was seriously injured when a vehicle struck the car in which she was tending to a casualty. As well Darren, a good friend and fellow veteran, also a paramedic, came close to not one, but two, head-on collisions while on duty just under a year ago within a one week span.

In Darren’s case, I was prompted to do a podcast after his first incident (link here), and then another after the second (link here).

As veterans most of us have a close affinity, not only to serving military, but also to first responders, such as police, fire and ambulance. Indeed, quite a number, when leaving the military, themselves become first responders.

A person’s death can be quite upsetting under any circumstances. If it occurs while the person is performing their duty it has a greater impact on me, and even more so should it be due to someone else’s careless or negligent actions.

Dallas Boyko, while serving as a paramedic, had most certainly positively affected countless number of lives. She died needlessly while performing her duty. That is a tragedy. May she rest in peace.

Once More A WINGMAN For WINGS

A local organization here in Edmonton has, since 1986, provided a second stage shelter for women and their children escaping domestic abuse.

This organization is known as WINGS – Women In Need Growing Stronger.

I have been an involved supporter of WINGS for over ten years in a number of different capacities.

Last year, WINGS developed a campaign, primarily social media based, to encourage men to become more involved, to become a WINGMAN.

Today on my podcast channel, Anchor, I released a discussion with Rhonda Janzen from WINGS, talking about what the organization does and what it has accomplished over the years. I invite you to give it a listen. Here is the link.

Next week I will be doing another podcast with Rhonda specifically about the WINGMAN campaign so watch for that one as well.

As I’m a WINGMAN again this year, my photo will be popping up fairly soon and of course I will be sharing it. Actually, I’m sharing pretty much everything from WINGS as they do their fundraising. If you wish, you can donate using this link. Be sure and enter my name as the WINGMAN you are sponsoring. As well EPCOR’s Heart+Soul Fund will match donations, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000, so there is great benefit possible from this campaign.

You can find out more about WINGS on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

By all means stay in touch with my social media for further updates. One way to do that is you can subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

Now some hashtags. #WomenInNeedGrowingStronger #yeg #WINGMAN4WINGS #DomesticViolence #HeartandSoulFund

NASCAR From A Different Perspective

Today, a person you probably never heard of, I certainly hadn’t, inspired me to write this blog post.

Her name is Kolby Garrison and to say she is an avid NASCAR fan would be an understatement.

She is such a unique fan that NASCAR did a set of videos about her. You see, Kobly has been blind since birth, and through these videos we can watch her experience the racing that she loves.

The series is called Vivid. It consists of four episodes along with some promos and shorts.

Having viewed the series I was touched by Kolby, her approach and attitude. As a result I felt the need to share this experience. Here are the four episodes so that you can watch them.

Episode 1 – The Perspective of a Blind NASCAR Fan

Episode 2 – Pit Crew Member for a Day

Episode 3 – The Ride Along

Episode 4 – Experiencing NASCAR

I found the videos to be fascinating, as Kolby demonstrates that being blind does not preclude her from a full experience at the track, or anywhere for that matter.

Thank you Kobly and NASCAR for doing this video series. It is well worth watching.

If you want, the full package of videos and shorts can be found on YouTube here.

Motley Mixture of Matters

Recently I’ve had a real mixture of thoughts bouncing around in my aging brain.

Now, this has both positive and negative aspects to it.

The positive aspect is that I actually have thoughts (note that is plural) in my brain. This indicates to me that to some degree it’s still working. The fact that I can remember at least some of the thoughts is quite positive as well.

A negative aspect is that I have thoughts (still plural) but have not completed the process needed to develop any of them properly.

Hence today’s blog post. Today you will get a smattering of a few thoughts, a motley mixture of matters.

Lately in the news, even on CTV, has been the separation of Lisa LaFlamme and CTV (Bell Media). I say separation as there seems to be much discussion as to what it really was. Perhaps she was terminated for being popular and having high ratings, maybe because CTV (Bell) was downsizing, or she was let go because she was a woman with grey hair. Regardless of why, the process used can be described by the letter “D”. It was a despicable, deplorable, demeaning dismissal. Not the way to part company with an individual who was an extremely well known, respected, public face of your organization.

Another recent, highly publicized, event was the verbal abuse directed towards the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. As heinous as this act was, it is yet another example of the growing verbal assaults or abuse, and at times physical threats, directed towards politicians and journalists, mainly women or persons of colour. In my last blog post I spoke about Finger Pointers, those who declare that a situation is always somebody else’s fault. To me, this seems to often be the type of attitude or behaviour which grows from that, growing more extreme. If that is the case, it’s a sad commentary on what we’re becoming.

On a more positive note, one month ago I rode with Michael Terry, on part of his solo Dispatches Adventure Ride, which goes from coast to coast to coast, across Canada and return. Then two weeks ago Kim and I rode with The Rolling Barrage, which is a Canada coast to coast group ride. Both of these rides are in support of, and to raise awareness for, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a military veteran I know how much an issue PTSD is to some of my comrades, as well as first responders, so it is important to me to support these annual rides every year. Some videos from this year and previous years is available on my YouTube channel. In the future there will be at least one podcast and more blog posts dealing with this issue and these events.

My last item today is about respect. The respect that I have for health care workers. Over the last few months I have been under the care or treatment of a number of nurses, doctors and other medical people for a variety of reasons. In my dealings with them I have been treated with compassion and dignity. Knowing much of the crap (yes crap) that they have gone through over the past couple of years, I have great respect for their attitude and professionalism. Thank you very much.

Well, that’s it for this blog post, something a little different. I decided early in the process not to have specific directions or timing for my blog, and podcast, but rather just talk about whatever strikes me at the time. This blog post actually came together over a few days.

I would really like to hear from you. Like what I post? Look at other parts of my Wee Internet Empire? Want to do a podcast with me? Like to be involved in a live YouTube event? Have something you think I should perhaps address? Let me know.

Take care. Be well.

Gen “Finger Pointers”

Here I am, a long time since my last blog post.

I have been stewing on this thought for quite a while and today is the day to get it expressed.

We hear, seemingly nonstop, about the different generations, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z and so on. We could just as well refer to them as Gen “Pick A Letter”.

Regardless of all this, I seriously believe we have transitioned, en masse, into Gen “Finger Pointers”.

It seems that, irrespective of what transpires, it’s somebody else’s fault. Whether it be politics, a work situation, highway traffic, a social event, or any other happening. If it’s not perfect it’s always another person’s fault, never our own.

Immediately, the finger gets wagging and pointing, indicating it’s their fault and they damn well better make it right. Seldom any thought process, seldom any discussion, simply a directive, perhaps even an ultimatum.

We seem to have lost the ability to give, and receive, constructive critiques. Gone somewhere is the act of discussion, thought sharing, working together, and compromise.

Now, these things are not lost forever, and are even still utilized by a good number of people.

However, in a great many circumstances, individuals need to demonstrate how good, or worthy, they are by indicating how terrible, useless or ineffective are those who may disagree with them or have an opposing view. Kind of like road rage being displayed in so many diverse venues.

For instance, this thought process as it is displayed in politics becomes an exercise in pointing out how bad the opposition is and why you should not vote for them, rather than showing how good I am and why you should vote for me.

For business, it is, our competitors perform poorly, lead you astray and just take your money, rather than let us have the opportunity to work with you to help benefit and improve your productivity and sales.

Is there a cure for this malaise? Can it be overcome? What is needed?

Yes, and yes. An effort by all of us to refrain from the finger pointing, refrain from the often automatic negative approach.

Let each of us work together, for the benefit of all and the betterment of our communities.

It is seriously my hope that the pendulum will swing back and many aspects of life will become more civil.

What are your thoughts?

A Wondering Day!

Today I am wondering.

I wonder what am I accomplishing, what have I achieved, since I’ve started out on my “Wee Internet Empire” journey last year. Is it worthwhile, even for just me. These are questions I am having difficulty answering.

Do people actually read my blog posts, or just notice that I did another one, or simply pass them by. The same for my podcasts, newsletters, photos, videos and so on. I know that a few do, others I can’t tell. Who knows, and really, how important is it anyway.

Today I am wondering.

Wondering what the future holds, in this endeavour, as well as a number of aspects of life in general which have been occurring. It has often been said, very accurately, that we live in interesting times.

Today I am wondering.

It is indeed… A Wondering Day!