Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sickness and Plumbing versus the Salt Spring Underground

This week has been a colossal shitshow of bad luck and trouble. 

There's been work stress all around: I had planned to give up one of my LINC classes so I could have evenings free and not spend all my time planning, marking, and worrying about students. This was to be the end of it, and none too soon, since between my two classes and tutoring with a Learning Centre, life has been very stressful, a ceaselessly spinning., exhausting hamsterwheel of work. 

Then Erika - having her own work stresses, but they don't feel like they're mine to write about - discovers she needs a root canal and crown. When I give up my hours, I lose my benefits, which will cover a goodly portion of the costs not covered by her insurance. I'm not totally clear what the percentages are but it could be as much as $1000. 

So suddenly I'm keeping my class for another month. 

That should work out okay, really - I'm happy for the pay and the benefits - but with all the stress and ceaseless activity, I haven't been able to shake this seasonal cold that I've got. Symptoms keep morphing but I'm in the "coughing up green" phase now (if I'm lucky; often I'm just coughing, with nothing coming up at all). Problem: I spent all of Thursday night coughing, loudly, productively, and uncontrollably. I had literally no sleep. None. And neither did Erika, even after I (voluntarily) bundled myself out onto the couch so she could have a shot at it (she could still hear me coughing every five minutes).

The cough feels like it is just getting deeper in me (and less productive) so it freaks  me out a bit... history of bronchitis, etc...

Anyhow: we weren't going to let any of that interfere with our plans of going to Salt Spring Island last night to see Salt Spring Underground, a new band featuring among its members the mighty Chris Arnett (of the Furies and the Shades) and Adrian Mack (of the Straight, but also one of Rich Hope's Evil Doers). I was sooooo keen on that that a sleepless night and a cold weren't going to stop me. We had ferry reservations and Erika's car was packed and ready to go. I prepared detailed lesson plans for my Saturday sub, and went to my Friday morning class as per usual, only to discover, via a text message, that shortly after I left, Erika noticed filthy water pumping up into our bathroom sink from another suite. Apparently the pipes haven't been cleaned here in ages. 

So in between hosting visits from Douglas College and VCC to explain about educational opportunities to my LINC 8 students, I'm on the phone with her, getting updates. Erika is bailing out bucketfuls of water, noting that someone's minty toothpaste foam just erupted into our sink. We both can visualize leaving the apartment and - with no one here to bail it out - the water spilling over and flooding the apartment. Should we cancel the ferry reservation? Hmm. At 1pm, the building manager is coming over to snake the drain. Erika is researching cancellation fees. We'll recalibrate our plans based on how all that turns out - I'm pacing in the hallway outside the class, talking with her on the phone, and sending my first apologetic email to Chris and Adrian...

But whatever, the show must go on. I get through my class, set finish off prepping for my sub for tomorrow - because I'm committed to that, now, having made all the arrangements and talked said sub into it, and I can use the day off to rest regardless of whether I'm on Salt Spring or just collapsed in bed in Burnaby. By one, the building manager is indeed in our bathroom, snaking up giant mats of red hair (neither Erika nor I have much of that, so it's a relief that this is not our fault, I guess) from our sink. Water still keeps coming up; it's getting better, but a plumber is still going to have to be called in. By 2:45, when I'm done with the class, I check in one more time, and the sink is good enough - there's still standing water in it, but not much, and its rate of regurgitation has slowed sufficiently that Erika figures we're good to go to Salt Spring after all. We set out a plan for me to meet her at Patterson Station. We both have slept not at all, but we're determined.

Then she gets a call: the plumber is coming at 6 or 7 and we need to be there to let him in. 

Sorry, Salt Spring Underground. I was glad to just sleep, actually. There were a couple silver linings to the shitshow at end of it all - like the nice guy at the ferry terminal waiving our cancellation fees, and me getting a refund on a pension I had via Douglas College, which was waiting for me in the mail. 

Overall, though, whew, what a week. I think I'll go back to bed and try to sleep a bit more of it off.  Arrgh.

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