Friday, September 03, 2004

Grandma has been in the hospital for about three weeks now. Everyone in the family is pretty concerned. Her heart is pretty week and she's not kicking her intestinal problems. I hope that she gets through this okay. Illness has always come to her infrequently but when it does, it hits her like a ton of bricks. Here is the letter I'm sending to her. It's a big vomit of everything going on in my life, but what else am I supposed to talk about? I love having political discussions with her, but I don't know if that's the thing to write to her about. Anyways, here it is:

Hi Grandma,

I’ve heard you’ve been having a bad go of it lately, so I thought I’d drop you a few lines to let you know that I’m thinking about you. It must be a nightmare to have to stay in the hospital! It’s not much fun. I hope that you’re feeling better these days.

I’m sure you had a good time at Manitou Beach with Uncle Ken and Auntie Lollie. Their place certainly is ideal for relaxing. We haven’t had much in the way of warm weather this summer, but I’m sure it was nice to hang out there for a few weeks anyways.

From what mom has told me, they aren’t really sure what is causing all of your discomfort. We can only hope you get out of the hospital as soon as possible. It would be fantastic to get out in time for Auntie Jeanne’s birthday party this weekend! It sounds like most of the family will be home for it this weekend, so you should have a lot of visiting to do! I only found out about the big party last week – a little too late to make alternate plans. I will have to call Auntie Jeanne on Sunday to wish her a happy birthday.

Instead, I have plans to race in the Alberta Time Trial Provincials in Darwell this weekend. I’m not really expecting a high placing, but I hope to beat my time from last year on the same course. Since I’ve been upgraded to Cat 2, it’s been a big test in humility. Now I’m racing with some of the strongest guys in the province (and the country, for that matter), I don’t really foresee getting a lot of high placings in races anymore. The days of glory are over! Hee Hee. Just knowing the company I’m keeping is supposed to be comfort enough, I guess.

We had our Road Race Provincials two weekends ago in Winfield. It was the most horrific race I’ve been in, weather-wise. It was 7 degrees Celsius with a heavy downpour and strong easterly winds to boot. It was a perfect storm to say the least. I’ve ridden in all of those conditions separately or in combinations of two, but never the three together. Needless to say, the race reconfirmed by beliefs that I’m a fair-weather rider. Maybe age has something to do with that…?

We have one more Provincial race after this weekend - on September 19 - the Hill Climb Championships at Mt. Norquay in Banff. We essentially climb the main road up to the ski hill. It’s about 3km at a very steep grade. It’s infamous for making your head explode on the way up (on top of the fact the climb starts at 4500ft and goes to about 5300ft.- no air to begin with!!!)

That’s finally the end of a very busy season. It’s been a very exciting racing season with great highs and yucky lows, but I managed to make it through relatively intact. I’m still working through insurance and the police to get the case on my bike/car accident closed. I’m very angry with the Calgary Police for their inactivity on my case. What a bunch of lazy oafs! If I had been injured in the accident, things would’ve been wrapped up much more quickly, but since it was only damage to my bike, it doesn’t seem to matter much to them. That sort of makes sense, since it would be left up to the court system or insurance to settle on monetary matters, however, after consulting with lawyers and the police on this and considering who it was that hit me, it’s likely the guy who hit me was unemployed and uninsured, so I was screwed either way. Now apparently he’s moved to Vancouver, and it would be futile for me to sue him, since he doesn’t have any money anyways and no one on the police force seems to be in a big hurry to find his address in Vancouver. Apparently, since he still hasn’t talked to the police in regards to the accident or completed a police statement (which is illegal), they are going to put out a summons on him, which will most likely never be resolved unless he’s ever stopped by traffic cops or something like that. I just can’t believe that there has been NO effort by the police forces at all to get this case finished.

It’s been a long four-month ordeal that I’ve had to be the constant pusher on. I’ve had to constantly urge the police to do anything, even talking directly to staff sergeants and threatening even more action beyond the police. They’ve essentially blamed me for letting the guy leave the scene of the accident without exchanging his insurance and plate information, like while I was lying on the ground I could hold the guy down so he wouldn’t leave before the police arrived. It’s quite sad, really. I’ve been through enough with this already, and now that the guy that hit me has gotten away scot-free and left me to pay all the bills myself, I’m pretty angry at the entire system…even more reason not to like cops.

Work has been extremely busy lately. I was moved to a new team with our department re-organization this spring, from an application development position, where you’re actually building the programs, to a support position, where you are maintaining them (or even administering life support to keep them alive…) and keeping them running for the customers/clients. I’ve found that I’ve been getting handed a lot of very un-related applications to support, so this is leading to another very steep learning curve on a bunch of very unfamiliar technologies. Things sort of get thrown at me rather suddenly without much of a chance to get to familiarize myself thoroughly with what I’m working with, so sometimes I feel like I’m troubleshooting by the seat of my pants. I guess I’ve been doing the right things, since they still keep giving me a paycheck and good performance reviews. It all certainly keeps me on my toes.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working with the railway for 3 ½ years already. I sometimes feel like a jack of all trades, master of none – apparently this is preferable for a project manager, which I’m sort of thinking is the path I want to pursue down the road. I’m not so sure if I want to deal with the people and political headaches though. I really like leaving work at the office and having my evenings and weekends to myself to do the things I truly enjoy. If I was more passionate about what I was doing I’d probably make more of an effort to immerse myself in it, but that isn’t the case, at least not right now in the position I’m in working at the company I work for at this point in my life. I’m not sure what’s on the horizon for me.

Everything else is going okay. Life here is good, but I’m feeling the winds of change blowing again. There is talk around here about eventually moving to the West Coast, maybe not in the next year, but maybe the next five. I like the idea of living by the ocean. It’s something that’s always been in me to do. Pretty different for a Prairie boy, eh? I’m hesitant in a way. I think I would really miss the sun in the winter, but not freezing (and no more icy roads!) is a pretty nice counterpoint. Who knows? If I had the opportunity to work in another country again, I would probably consider that too. I would like to work in the United States for a while if I had the chance, but only to make a whole bunch of money and bring it back to Canada!

I went up to visit Owen and Chloe last weekend. We had a nice evening on Saturday just sitting around the kitchen table, talking and having a few beers. They have a very nice house and Owen has built a very formidable bar in the rec room. I even got to see the new camper. I think Owen will be seeing quite a bit more of me next summer whenever him and Chloe are up at the lake!

Unfortunately, I never got time to go to Lacombe and see Scott and Jen’s new house. Scott was out of town on the weekend. I’m planning on going back up to Red Deer again sometime in the fall, so I’ll get to check out the new digs then.

I don’t think I’ll be coming to Grandview for Christmas, but that’s not a certainty. I have three days of vacation left. A group of friends are planning on going to Vancouver Island for an extended weekend of scuba diving sometime in November, with some cycling and exploring during the day. I would like to go on the trip, but if things don’t end up working out and I can work out transportation to Grandview before Christmas, I’ll be there!

Next year there are some big plans and things going on, so most of my vacation is already reserved. I’m planning on going out to the East Coast with Joe sometime next summer. Joe is originally from Prince Edward Island, so we’ll be able to borrow his mom’s car and stay at his mom and step-dad’s house in Borden. It’ll make the trip much more affordable and I’ll have an excellent tour guide (as long as things haven’t changed too much – it’s been ten years since Joe’s been there)! I really think it will be a nice trip, but there will be a lot of miles to cover from Moncton to Halifax to Cavendish Beach on PEI. That will definitely be a two-week trip. I would really like to visit Newfoundland, but that will have to happen on another trip someday. There is also talk among the cyclists about another training session week in Arizona again next spring. I had such a great time down there last year, it is something else I would like to consider – so many places, so little time.

The World Masters Games are in Edmonton next summer as well. It’s a huge international competition – something like 20,000 participants, Olympics for old people! Hee Hee. Actually in most sports, Masters is considered anyone over 30. I’m planning on racing in all of the road cycling events which take place on two weekends, and track racing at the Argyll Velodrome in Edmonton which takes place during the week in between. There are quite a few of my cycling buddies that are planning on racing in some of the events as well, so I’ve taken an additional week off of work for that. My training goal over the next year is working to peak in my performance levels for that event next year. Once those games are over, I am already looking to 2006, when two more international events are fortunately taking place in North America. They are being held in Chicago and Montreal with a week in between, so I’m hoping to book three straight weeks for those two events (but I have to factor in some time to celebrate Dad’s 60th birthday that year as well). These events are also expecting to draw between 10-15,000 participants each. Talk about early planning! It may sound a little obsessive to some people, but I’ve found setting long-term goals definitely keeps your eye on the prize. It’s worked quite successfully with my cycling, running and triathlon – I only wish I could figure out how to apply it more to other things in my life.

Hopefully that will all come with time…

I expect by the time you get this letter, you’ll be out of the hospital already, so some of this might be old news already. It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long since I’ve actually sat down and wrote a letter. I realize how out of date the information gets as it did when I used to write letters frequently. You get accustomed to having more and more information around you all the time. Life is quite different these days with instant information at your fingertips or on a screen 24/7 if you want it.

Since you’ve been in my thoughts a lot lately, I just thought I’d send you healing vibes to get you on the road to a speedy recovery and a little (?) update of what’s going on in my life. I hope you’re feeling better soon.

I love you very much Grandma. Take care.

Love alwaysReid

What else is going on? Track provincials were fun, although Dave Corr and I spent most of Sunday in Foothills Hospital with Brian Kullman and Jon Keech who had crashed on the track. They were luckily only really banged up and nothing was broken. Dad and Mom came into Calgary that day from Red Deer, where they had been hanging out with Owen in the hospital while the doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong with him. Imagine their surprise when I asked them to meet me in the hospital in Calgary! They were wonderful - they patiently waited until we got Brian released, and drove Dave and I back down to the velodrome, where we managed to get into the final race of the day with Sean Huggins-Chan, the Olympic Pursuit. We ended up going down to the Barley Mill at Eau Claire for food and drinks and walked around Prince's Island for awhile before they dropped me off and headed back to RD.

The following weekend was the RR Provincials in Winfield. Worst racing weather ever. I felt crappy for the first two-thirds of the race until we turned out of the wind and my feet were able to warm up, however we had already been dropped from the main pack and finished about 15 minutes behind the winner (Zach Bell, no doubt). Graeme Thomson, Steve German, Dave Leahy and myself all crossed the line together as the Cat 3 winners were crossing the line. I was very glad when that day was over.

Last weekend I headed up to Red Deer on Saturday to visit with Owen and Chloe. We had a fun time - very short, but good. I'm planning on heading back up there sometime again in the fall.

Most of the Red Deer crew is heading to Manitoba this weekend for Joey and Michelle's wedding in Russell. As well, Auntie Jeanne's 60th birthday party is this weekend in the Wilson barn. I was sort of surprised that they were having such a big party, and I was disappointed to not find out about it sooner. I got an email from Grant this week asking me if we wanted to drive to Grandview together. Even he is going. I'm probably the only kid in the family that won't be there.

Oh well, TT Provs are this weekend in Darwell. I'm not hoping to win anything, but I am hoping to beat my course time from last year - 58:18.

The weekend after, I'm volunteering at the Calgary Corporate Challenge team triathlon. For some ungodly reason, Peter Finnie figured that we had a hard time putting together a triathlon team, which is completely wrong, so he didn't enter us in the event since the CCC board is sanctioning companies that are no-shows to events now.

The CCC 10K (which I'm organizing AGAIN) is on the 18th, and the Hill Climb Provincials are on the 19th. And then the racing season is over. I'm also organizing the Frontrunners Ekiden teams, which reminds me - I need to register today!

That's about it. Joe's working very hard and working lots. I haven't seen much of him lately, but we're going to catch a movie tonight hopefully and we're planning on spending the night of the 18th in Banff before the HC on Sunday. The hotels are still very pricy, so I'm not sure how that's going to work out. Nick and him are planning on going to Vancouver for their birthdays on the October 16th weekend, while I'm in Banff running the Ekiden.