Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The +3 Socks of Adventuring


Any accounting of events is incomplete, so it was with my Nanaimo trip. A small detail limited the trip, shoes.  As things usually do it made sense at the time.  In mid July, my footwear options included nearly dead black leather boots, steel toed shoes, and sandals with shredded soles.  Something more seasonal in order, it was shopping time, and GST rebate time.  On a hot evening after work I went shopping.
Shoe shopping is an a distant second place after pants shopping for least favorite form of consumerism. Compared to pants there are more known shoe brands that fit, but this does not always translate into easy shopping. It took nearly three shops for me to find the right thing. In reality just two shops, I never set foot in the second shop I approached, their bike rack was so badly designed I could not lock up without risking damage, they did not get my business.

-1 Sandals of friction
So the footwear I ended up with was a snug slipper like bundle of synthetic material. It fit good, and after 10 hours on my feet I knew they would be more relaxed after a rest.  That my feet were soft and pink at time of perchance was largely ignored. They had been stewing in my work shoes.  The default assumption is that my feet are hard and calloused, that several months of stewing in hot shoes could negate that assumption never occurred to me.

On the Ocean, looking for Tenagra
Fast forward, a few days, I have confidently boarded a bus and a ferry while proudly wearing my Darmok and Jalad T-shirt and new shoes.

Shoes which logged at the best 8 km.  Shoes, which after three repacks of the luggage were decided to be the only foot coverings for the trip. Travel from my house to the ferry took a scant 8oom of walking.  The hike at the Nanaimo end was close to 6 km, in sweltering sun.  It was 3km into that hike that I concluded that my feet being soft and pink, was not just an artifact of being fresh off work. The snug fit of the sneaker like sandals and my copious perspiration made quick work of my pinky toes.

So I wince my way into downtown* Nanaimo, my toes bandaged up.  *Downtown Nanaimo, a place where my first thought was, where is the rest of it.  I knew better than to take untested shoes for big adventures, but on this occasion I failed at wisdom. It lead to buyers remorse, a state that took a little time to recover from. For my first evening in that town bandages were the best I could do, they kept my bits from getting mangled.  Socks would have been a good thing to pack.

It was just past nine, the next morning, I was on my way to wonder around Newcastle island. A large but poor quality breakfast, with half cooked hash browns gave me the option to take as long as I liked.  Walking the waterfront it became clear,that neither shortages of food or water would ruin the hike, a foot skin shortage would.  There was but one choice, double back to the economic centre of the city, the Dollarish* store.

*Dollarish stores are like Dollar stores but the prices are only near a Dollar or two or three, rather than at a dollar.

It turns out Dollarish stores, do sell socks.  A few rows of pegboard held the garments.  On the left the mens socks, thick, long, and in some cases argyle.  Now some people can pull of knee socks with sandals, those people might be German.  I can not even keep up knee socks, these were out of the question.  That left the lady's socks, which come in lengths other than long. There is nothing worse than a long socks falling down the leg because it has failed to cling to my calves.  Thus I selected a pair of lady's turn cuff socks, in an inoffensive grey, stopping short of the ankle.  

Once out of the shop I peeled off the foot abraders and slipped on the woven polyester membrane for instant relief. I could walk freely again, and I did, logging an estimated 9 km on my round about stroll on Newcastle island, and another 6 km that day alone.  My feet were still tender, and the damage had been done, but the erosion had been halted.

It said not to hike here, which is
why I only walked
Not much use has been made of the +3 Socks of Adventuring since I that trip. After things healed up a bit, my feet gained enough toughness to not need the aide.  One exception was made this week, they were packed for my hike up the BCMC trail on Grouse mountain. On this occasion the sandals did as instructed, say on and provide abrasion protection. The socks used their powers on the way down, saving the tops of toes from the pressure that comes with a steep descent.  The socks may add a few hit points but they don't add any stamina, as my legs are stiff from the doing of things.

Now I feel I have to restore some balance to my life.  Hiking up Grouse Mountain on a Sunday is such a terribly Vancouver thing to do, it almost feels unclean. Perhaps I should get some light beer and red meat.  Alternately could just give up and get the fixed gear bike to go with my totally not hipster tattoo, and the yoga mat to go with my healthyish lifestyle. While I make up my mind I will make some dinner, it might involve a cheese named Ashley.


Friday, August 1, 2014

These Gifts Three


 It was recently my 35th Birthday.  The first birthday in I in ages where I was not depressed.  For too long early July would roll around and I would list all things I had not done with that year or did not have yet. This year I broke the trend.  34 was a tough year, it through too many downs and too few ups. The cat crisis extended from her morning flight on July 30 2014, to into February when at last we were fully rid of the fleas. The adorable sweater manages the one long turn issue.  Unemployment and the slumps that went with that ran in parallel with the cat issues. So I was down but I started fighting to get up again.

Change was slow.  It took a long time to learn, I did not want to return to the corporate life I had been trying to live.  It was a dead end, I could not care for it, it made me miserable. Signing on to be a  Temp worker pawn saved my ass. After months of spinning my wheels applying for jobs I did not want, and would not get and work was a needed.  An alternative to flinging resumes into the internets like monkey's fecies was greatly welcome.  It has been grunt work, low paying grunt work. Work that gets me out in the world, work that lets me be good at something.  Most importantly it is work that can free me from my employment past.  Translating geology work into terms useful for civilian life has proven more difficult than I would have expected.  Right now it looks like I will have steady work into September. Full time, normal hours and more less sane working conditions and coworkers.

So I pondered this birthday, my small apartment and my cat and thought, we made it.  The Lady Baroness von Softpaws of Gallifrey, made it just barely.  The temp work slowly brought in enough hours to cover the needs.  We made it.  I still have my apartment, my cat and my health. The apartment will go soon enough, even though I can hold it, it takes too much of my pay to leave me piece of mind and room to play.  So in the spirit of of moving forward I gave myself three gifts.

The first a little trip, hastily planned, with imperfect execution, and bad timing.  A little journey was taken to Nanaimo to visit some friends. Who unfortunately were working the majority that weekend.
It was also the middle of a heat wave, so activity was limited. It was not a failure, fun was had, exploring happened when heat the hostel basement room I rented.  Newcastle island was the highlight. It would be wrong to dismiss the short but fun visit with Natasha and Christi, who I almost never see, it was good to laugh about the OUC days.