It has been more than a week since my last blog update so let’s review the critical events of the past week:
The rat status– After 2 sleepless nights listening to the rodent’s open-mouthed chewing on something, presumably my breakfast, 10 feet away from where I’m sleeping, I guess it was time. I bought one of those massive snap traps and prepared to sleep outside on the picnic table under the stars. I fumbled with the trap until I finally had it set and baited, with a little smoked salmon bread ball, but by the time I figured it out I was completing the task outside by candlelight (it is remarkably still up the mountain- most nights a candle will burn straight; the cabin is in a bit of a wind shadow or something which adds to its beauty and uniqueness).
After finally getting adequate sleep under the stars, you guessed well, the trap was picked clean and still set, improperly but still set nonetheless. It was a workday and I was leaving Bowen Island early that day in order to meet my honeymooning cousins from Toronto. Packing up for my commute I hear little footsteps above me. The ceiling is a wrinkled drywall, leaky half open mess, and sitting on the plastic vapour barrier above me was my little foe, GROOMING HISSELF. He might as well have burped and gave me the thumbs up for the dinner I had prepared for him. I did the only thing accessible to me at the moment. I reached up and gave him one of my patented finger flicks (ask my oldest nieces about their childhood) right on what I imagined to be his little rat nards. He jumped and scurried for cover and we have yet to meet again.
The commute- A big challenge. I work 4 nights per week in Vancouver with my shifts ending at 4am- 2 hours before any buses or ferries are running. Staying awake until the buses start sets up a steady night shift scenario which is decidedly unhealthy, especially during the sunless merciless Pacific Northwest winter months. I goes a little loco with the absence of any daylight. In light (haha) of this I’m trying to work out an intermittent sleep rhythm wherein I sleep 2 or 3 hours immediately after work, like in my staffroom or something, commute back to the island, do cabin stuff for a couple of hours, catch maybe 3 more hours sleep, then head back to work in Vancouver. Tuesday of last week started great- finish work, take a little snooze, get up, pedal my bike through the rain to my bus stop, put it on the bike rack on the front of the bus, and as a bonus, fall asleep on the bus straight away as it heads off to the ferry terminal. A short time later the bus driver’s announcement awakens me telling me there is an express bus going to the ferry terminal just in front of us. I jump up, bleary-eyed, grab my pack and run onto the other bus, like a champ. The bus pulls away and in an early morning moment of clarity I say to the driver- “My bike is on the front of that bus up there”. The driver, trying to make contact with the correct bus, keeps asking me “Sir (cringeworthy), what would you like to do?” I explain that I’ve just woken up and might need a second or so, then finally blurt out, like a gigantic toddler, “I want the bike on that bus to be on the front of this bus.” At the next bus stop, I jump out and in the pouring rain transfer my bike to the preferred bus and things work out perfectly, right?
Sort of except that the next day on the return commute I wake up from my afternoon nap, jump on that heavy old beast of a bike, when combined with gravity and this (heavy) guy, makes the ride down the mountain to the Island ferry terminal a fascinating descent. Swirly beard in full flight. I end up missing the ferry that would get me into the city an hour before work and am then faced with the following ferry getting me to work barely on time or perhaps a touch late. While waiting another option presents itself- a water taxi that runs across Howe Sound directly to Coal Harbour in Vancouver, making the crossing in approximately 35 minutes. My workplace is maybe a further 10 minutes on my bike so despite the increased cost I thought I’d give it a whirl and get to work in ample time. The crossing is beautiful and in all my years of living in Vancouver I’ve never been on the water around Stanley Park and under the Lions Gate Bridge. I stand outside on the stern of the water taxi next to my trusty pedaled steed, try to get some decent photos with my crappy phone, and arrive in Coal Harbour. I grab my bike, start off to work when half way there I realize that my pack was still on the water taxi- my computer, notebooks, and all that other stuff. The taxi had left to return to the island already but 24 hours later I was able to retrieve my commuter pack. I mentioned a little something about having the ADD, right?
Challenges always emerge. The rat and the commute are little. What are bigger challenges, however, are 2 people. The first is the owner of the farm where the cabin is located, who has emerging priorities that seem to be making a cabin renovation a low priority. The second is my youngest daughter, Imogen, who hates the place. A very unexpected response from her, but she hates it. So it looks like it’s time to muster.