I was asked the other week if I was happy. Happy moving away from Ontario and now living in Alberta.
I didn’t really have to think about it too much as I have given it some thought over the last year and a half that I have lived in the western part of our country.
When I was living in St. Catharines and working for the Region of Niagara, I was generally happy. Prior to that, I was working for a small internet provider and that was good and when it became not so good, I moved on. In the last two years or so at my previous job, I was not particularly happy – it wasn’t the best time in my working career. Going into work on a near daily basis was a chore at best. Sometimes, I would actually dread having to go in. That is not a good way to be. So, I did something about it.
Since I have moved to Calgary, I have not had one day where I have dreaded going into work. I actually love going into work. I really do enjoy my job. Sometimes, it is a little slow, BUT, there is always something else to do if the office happens to be slow. It is one of the nice things about working for a National company that has offices literally from coast to coast. I even enjoy going in on Mondays. Mondays have a bad rap. To tell you the truth, Monday might be my favourite day of the week at work.
I am not coaching baseball at the moment – I am in some sort of semi-retirement. I am umpiring however and am really enjoying it. It allows me to continue participating in the game that I love without having to make a huge commitment to it. When you coach, at least at the all-star and elite level, you are committing to 5-7 days a week on the diamond and batting cages. You are committing to travelling all over for games and tournament. You are eating out, sleeping in hotels. You become close with the players and their parents and families that you are basically living with for a few months of the year. I do miss it, sort of, but not really. I am enjoying being able to see the game from the other side. I have umpired for a lot of years but I always umpired at the same time as I coached and when I did umpire, it would be on the odd day that I had off so it then become more of a job than anything else. I should have been home, relaxing, spending time with my dog. Now, when I umpire, it is actually a break from my “life” and a chance to get back on the baseball diamond and participate, even in a small way. It really is no longer work. The added bonus, I get paid to do something that I am now starting to love almost as much as coaching. I am sure that at some point, I will go back to coaching. Not sure when. I do know why though. My goal, when I started coaching all-star was a Provincial title. I have coached a number of teams that have made it to the Provincials and we have finished as high as third place. Unfortunately, there is no bronze medal for finishing third. So, I will come back to it, someday, and try for that elusive title.
I don’t think I actually miss my family. I speak to my sisters often. One of them, and I will not say switch (but I am sure she knows who she is) may think that I talk to her TOO often. I will admit, I occasionally call her 8 times a day to bug her. It is pretty easy to do.
I do miss going for dinners and going out to eat, once, twice, maybe three times a week. I miss breakfasts at the Greasy Spoon. I miss getting together for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I miss meatloaf shaped like a dinosaur.
I also miss seeing my sisters dog, Chloe – she’s a good girl, almost as good as my girl dog Blondie. It will be nice seeing Chloe in October when I am back in Ontario. I am, according to JB, Uncle Kevin to Chloe. Yeah, she is a little bit nuts, but aren’t we all? I am sure that Chloe will be happy to see me. She was last year, but that was after I had only been gone for a few months. This time around, it will have been over a year. I am sure that a dog won’t forget someone – I certainly hope anyway. Chloe doesn’t take well to start with around “strangers”.
I will see both sisters on my upcoming trip, my brother in law as well and my aunt. It’ll be nice. I am sure that in the 5 days that I spend in St. Catharines, I will be able to drive my sister nuts. It is one of my jobs and a job that I take seriously. I also think I do it pretty well.
The other one, BD, is harder to bug. She just doesn’t rise to it like I would like, so, for the most part, I have given up trying. Occasionally I can do it, so, perhaps there is hope.
So, I guess in ways I do miss my family, but we still keep in touch so that is a good thing.
I don’t have any real close friends in Alberta. I had a few in Ontario and I do miss hanging out with them. We do talk on the phone fairly often and in my upcoming trip back to the province of my birth, we have planned some outings. I hope that time and distance doesn’t diminish these friendships, but I doubt that it will. I have been friends with them for a long time. I am hopeful that those friendships will last. I am ok without having any real close friends in Alberta though. I don’t go out as often as I did back in St. Catharines, but, I am also not in any sort of a rut. I guess that can happen when you have been friends with people for a long time – there is only so much to do together. As I said, I umpire, I am on the Board of Directors for a political riding association, I am involved with Big Brothers and I work and work with a lot of great people. I guess as we get older, it may take more time to develop closer friendships – who knows…
One thing that I actually like is that I can go to pretty much any mall or whatever in Calgary and in the year and a half that I have been here, I have only ran into someone I know once. It is a big city, 1.3 million or something like that. I don’t know a heck of a lot of people here so I guess the odds of me seeing someone I know are not all that good. I sort of like the “privacy” this provides me. I wouldn’t consider myself a people person – I do like talking to people, but I also really enjoy my privacy.
I love the weather out here too. We only have a handful of days in the rather short summer that I would consider hot and really, there isn’t much humidity here. We had 1 day this past summer that the temps did get a bit high and we did have a bit of humidity. I had a few nights where the house was a little too hot to sleep in comfort. Zeus looked at me a few times while panting on the couch and I could tell that he was “asking” me to turn the air conditioning on. Poor guy, I don’t have AC…
Zeus and Blondie
I think Zeus and Blondie are happy here as well. We go to more dog parks than we ever did back in St. Catharines. Zeus is also much more friendly with other dogs than he used to be. I would credit most of that change to living with Blondie. He’s come to accept her, I think, albeit reluctantly. Blondie on the other hand has loved Zeus since the moment that she met him.
So, to answer the original question. Am I happy?
Yes, I would have to say, YES, I am.