I am not using names, here, intentionally.
When I was 9 or 10 years old, possibly a bit older or younger, the enormous field across the road from our house was sold to a real estate developer who began to plant wooden stakes and bright orange flags in all the places where potatoes used to grow.
It was exciting. Signs went up, advertising some amazing-looking houses. The gigantic machines moved in shortly after that.
Over the course of the next few years, what we referred to as “the subdivision” continued to grow and develop. Roads went from gravel/dirt to paved. Basements were poured, frames were built, and all the kids in the neighbourhood quickly learnt how to get in and out of them. We played tag, running up and down the wooden-framed stairs. When we got a bit older, we took our boyfriends there to make out in the corner of the basements. There was never any security.
By the time I was in high school, the first chunk of the subdivision was completed, and I was already friends with some of the kids who were living in the actual homes that we had explored. Before they moved in, there were only a hand full of us in walking distance of each other, so we were thrilled to have new people around.
One of the girls who moved in there became a good friend when I was in grade 9 – we rode the bus together to school, had a few sleepovers, partied together (ahem), travelled to California together for a band competition, and acted like teenage girls. I got to know one of her brothers, and he became a part of our circle pretty quickly, while her other brothers were too much older and too much younger to really befriend.
When we graduated from high school, we mostly went our separate ways – seeing each other once in a while when we were both home. We both got married, have families, and when Facebook became popular, we got back in touch pretty quickly. Caught up. Admired photos and posted random things.
And so, when she noted that her cousin had gone missing, I started sending out lots of good thoughts. All of us – everyone from our high school class – did. I think we all assumed it was a misunderstanding and he’d be back the next day.
What happened seems just.. impossible. Her cousin had listed his pickup truck on Kijiji and got a call from someone who wanted to test drive it. Two guys showed up and her cousin hopped in the truck, told his wife he’d be back soon, and .. was gone.
Less than a week later the truck was found. There were search warrants and lawyers and all sorts of speculation.
And then they found her cousin’s body.
One of the guys will be charged with first degree murder – there’s no word, yet, about the other guy. There’s evidence that a third person was involved, too, which means this was definitely something planned in advance. There’s a strong possibility they had tried this earlier in the month.
There are so many other parts to this story, but I’m trying to keep this short.
This morning, when they announced that his body had been found, I cried. Not just a single tear, but a full-on cry.
I wasn’t crying for my own loss – I didn’t know her cousin. Never met the guy, as far as I’m aware, and I didn’t know his wife or their daughter.
And it’s not just because of my friend’s loss – though I cannot begin to imagine how her family is coping, managing, or surviving this. I feel awful for her, for her cousin’s wife and daughter, and for their entire family. I know they are a very religious family and that they’ve commented on how their faith is helping them and I hope that, somehow, brings them peace.
I just find the entire thing so incredibly senseless. From what anyone has been able to determine, this was solely about.. a pickup truck. One that was a few years old, even. There’s no evidence that my friend’s cousin was anything other than a caring husband and father. No evidence of any wrong-doing on his part, and no involvement in anything shady.
For all anyone knows at this point, he was murdered for a pickup truck.
Oh, I know the world is full of sick people who do awful things. And I know there will be more to come from this story in the near future – I could write long paragraphs just about the guy who’s been arrested and all the weirdness surrounding him. About how none of this makes any sense. How there MUST be something more to the story.
But the idea – the very idea – of someone hopping into a truck, waving goodbye to his wife, and being murdered? It just breaks my heart. I put myself into his wife’s shoes and try to imagine all the times I’ve waved goodbye to Coffee when he’s left for work or headed out somewhere. About how casually we say goodbye to people we love – because we have no reason to expect that they’ll disappear. You know what I mean?
I had been rooting for a miracle, I guess, despite the odds being stacked high against it. There are plenty of stats about the time frame after someone disappears – how the likelihood of finding them alive decreases rapidly. I understood that. But I felt like I had to hold out hope because, jesus, he was just selling his truck.
I mention my (very distant) ‘connection’ to all of this, rather than just telling you about what happened, because I’m not sure I’d have paid a lot of attention to this if it weren’t for my friend. Bad things happen – to good people, yes, but also to bad people – all the time. I usually try very hard to avoid the bad things. I don’t watch sad movies. I don’t read sad books. The world is just full of enough of that stuff that I can’t see the point in searching it out. It’s too easy to get sucked into the dark, bleakness.
For most of my life, I’ve understood that much of what happens is as close to random as anything can be. There are so many ‘what ifs’ that apply to every situation – what if we answered the phone or broke up with him earlier or wore different shoes or didn’t turn left or decided not to follow our gut? Why do some people suffer greatly in life and others live mostly unfettered by pain? The right choice isn’t always what it appears to be and the wrong choice doesn’t always lead down the path to ruin.
It doesn’t make it any better, though, y’know? Sometimes you want the good guy to win against all the odds. Sometimes you just want the right thing to happen – despite all logic, against all the statistics. And I think that’s what made me so sad this morning.
Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.
Apparently it was NOT a good idea for me to mow the lawn yesterday because by last night all of my ribs were in agony and this morning it isn’t much better. Duh.
So now I’m forced to spend (hopefully just a few) days not doing anything to further antagonize my ribs and, hey, do you know how many things you do every day that basically antagonize your ribs? ALL THE THINGS.
(But I really enjoyed mowing the lawn anyway.)
I cannot begin to describe to you the deliciousness that is coming home from work at a reasonable hour and not needing to scarf down a sandwich and head back out again.
And it’s still light outside.
And it’s warm outside.
I celebrated today by mowing the lawn. I enjoyed every second of it – don’t worry, though, I know the novelty of it will wear off soon. I paid Middle One $2 to sweep the lawn clippings up and I think he was happy to get the cash.
(He is saving up to buy a big, flat-screen TV for his bedroom to go along with the xbox that he bought. This kid is AWESOME at saving cash. It’s kind of awe-inspiring.)
Over the weekend, we opened the pool. I say “we” but the truth is that Coffee did 99.9% of the work while I made sexually-harassing comments, whined about how the water was too cold for swimming, and took photos of him when he finally took his shirt off.
I call that “we” opening the pool. I gave pretty much what you’d expect, right?
We invested in a solar blanket – because 54F/12C water is not appropriate for swimming and I am nothing if not impatient – and a roller thingie to remove it from the water when we’re not using it. Coffee then spent a large chunk of the remaining part of the weekend assembling that and getting it ready.
The good news is that today, at 5:15pm-ish, the water is up to 62F/17C. THAT’S CRAZY! That’s after one day of blankety goodness!
The weather forecast says that it’s going to be around 24C for the next few days so I’m hoping that the water will continue to warm up and we’ll be swimming next weekend – or maybe even sooner? Maybe?
I’ve started doing some clean-up of the (thankfully small) gardens here – learning what plants should have been chopped down at the end of the season (peonies and sedums, for example) and taking pictures of some of the plants that I didn’t recognize. After posting the pictures to Facebook, several friends chimed in to help me name a few more plants and give me some ideas for sprucing up the garden spaces a bit.
It’s a shame that I hate gardening so much – I love gardens.
It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll get to put in a vegetable garden this year – which makes me sad – but I feel like we’re going to have plenty to do this summer, anyway. Like go swimming. Ahem.
I’ve also started working on figuring out how to update the tiki bar on the back deck. I still absolutely love it, and have since the day we first saw the house, but it needs to be updated and cleaned up and some painting done and, well, lots of work needs to go into it. The problem is that we also need to rebuild/repair some parts of the decking and the ‘roof’ over the deck – and I don’t think that’s in the budget for this year (I have people coming to give us quotes later this week, however, in case I’m wrong about that).
So, I don’t know how much time to invest in sprucing up the bar if it may need to be fully ripped out, or even partially, to repair the other spots. Hopefully the contractors will be able to give me some idea.
Lots of good outdoor stuff going on, including a nest of robins on the upper part of the deck. I am going to enjoy the hell out of all of it right up ’til the weather gets humid and awful – - by which time, I hope, the pool temperature will be delightful and I’ll just spend all my spare time under water.
Leg hair fetishism, anyone? Anyone?!
It is time for the annual depelting of my legs, I guess.
Earlier this week I interviewed students who are interested in doing a year-long field placement with my agency and, specifically, working in the area that I work.
Based on those hours spent interviewing students, I believe I can now totally ace absolutely any job interview, ever. (I can’t remember ever having a crappy interview, but I have had one or two where I knew it wasn’t going to end in a job offer, for a variety of reasons.) I totally get it now – what makes or breaks the deal.
One of the candidates gave stock answers – despite me not asking stock questions. I didn’t ask “what are your weaknesses?” because I think that’s a stupid question and I’m not interested in playing mind games to see how creative someone can be in answering it. I did ask questions like, “How would you describe your personality?” and “What are you hoping to get from your field placement, whether with my agency or another one? What do you really want to do/learn/see/experience?”
It was clear that she had prepared for AN interview, but not THAT interview.
Another one disclosed all sorts of personal stuff that made me think, “Whoah, this person isn’t going to work well with my clients!” I figured that if she was comfortable telling me these things, she’d almost assuredly be comfortable telling them to my clients at some point.
The candidate that I most want – and who I am hoping will end up placed with me in September – was full of passion. Not in a cheesy way, or an over-the-top way, but in a way that made me think she’d really enjoy being a part of what we do. I felt like she’d seek out opportunities to learn, beyond the training she’d get from me, and that she’d be curious and interested in all the various things we do at my agency and out in the community.
She didn’t know all the ins-and-outs of my agency (for a variety of very valid reasons) but she knew enough. She didn’t try to fake her way through the questions, she just gave very clear answers.
I am ridiculously passionate about certain aspects of my job and my agency. There are things that I am convinced – without a doubt – we are doing absolutely the right way. When I look around at where I work, and the community where we do our jobs, I also see all the various opportunities for learning – if you’re willing to open your eyes, ask questions, and seek out some answers.
And y’know, that’s basically the entire world summed up in a nutshell. You just have to show up and ask a lot of questions.
I am hopeful about this student. Please cross your fingers that she’s placed with me!
“You cannot prevent the birds of worry and care from flying over your head. But you can stop them from building a nest in your hair.” — Famous Proverb