Friday, June 24, 2005

muffins and bottled water

My alarm went off at 6:15 this morning, and I knew right from the start that today would not be an easy one. First I couldn’t find the energy to roll myself out of bed. Then, despite my plan to go upstairs for a shower, Brandy began howling the minute I was out of the room – if I’d gone upstairs, she’d have eventually woken up Stephen, who I would then have to deal with later on. So I skipped the shower and let Brandy follow me around while I got dressed and tried to make myself look like I hadn’t just rolled-out-of-bed for my first shift at work.

7 o’clock came earlier than I’d expected it to, and without time for breakfast, I headed out the door with Brandy in tow. We drove to Dad’s house with her consistently trying to climb over to my side of the car, and me pushing her back, as gently as possible. By the time we got inside and Karma started jumping on her, I have to admit that hah, so there went through my mind. Even so, I really only had time to drop her off and head back out to the car, and from there, I drove in to work.

7:30 – 1:00. That was my shift, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from a coffee shop in the suburbs. Friday morning, do people stop in for coffee on their way to work? to dropping their kids off at school? on their way to/from the gym? Surprisingly, these questions never got answered: but let me explain.

At 7:30 precisely (you all know how I like to be on time), I stepped in the front door. The first thing that I noticed was that the lights were not on. Maybe they like to have the café lit by sunlight in the morning, I thought to myself. Then I realized, there was also no music, no machines running, and no smiles on the faces both in front and behind the counter. What was I getting myself into?

As it turns out, the fitness center directly behind 2nd cup called the fire department earlier that morning. There had been a strange smell coming from one of their electrical panels, and out of concern for their customers and business, they called in the professionals. The fire department concluded that the problem was bigger than first assessed, and called in Enmax specialists from the city of Calgary. They went underground and realized that a transformer needed to be replaced, and with a flip of a switch (well… possibly more than a single switch), the power for the entire block was shut off.

At 5:30, when Doug, the café’s owner, had arrived to open 2nd cup, two thirds of the original power was in place. He had time to brew 2 pots of each coffee, and begin some of the opening duties before the city shut off the power. By the time I arrived at 7:30, the staff had sold out of all the coffee that had been brewed, and was in the process of trying to explain to some very grumpy, very groggy customers that due to the unforeseen power outage, there was no way for them to brew coffee, steam milk, operate blenders, use the cordless telephone, run the debit/credit machine, etc. etc. etc. Thank goodness we had a key for the cash register, we were still able to use a calculator and the menu boards to price out the breakfast foods that a few brave souls were willing to shell out their hard earned money on. It seemed so wrong to charge one poor woman 2.60 for her iced steam milk. [ice + milk. period].

The second cup is in a strip mall that consists of an accountant’s office, a medi-center, dry cleaner, florist, bakery, radio shack, a super drug mart, a dairy queen (yum), a 7-11 and a scotia bank. Because so many businesses were affected, the mall owners were on site providing communication & feedback from the Enmax people to each of their tenants. We kept receiving visits from them telling us that the power would be on ‘shortly’, or ‘in an hour or so’. By 11 am, Doug decided to send me home, seeing as I had just spent 4 hours selling mostly muffins and bottled water to some less than happy customers.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


So, after two years of trying to improve my status in life, I’m back at 2nd cup. That’s right, my summer job is right back smack in the past – I’m working swing shift at the cup. Maybe this time it will be different? There seems to be a decent manager this time around, and I absolutely refuse to let it get under my skin this time around. I start work on Friday, and from there.. who knows. They want to give me 5 shifts a week, but since each shift is only 6 hrs, I really won’t be making enough money for Japan. They started me at 8.50/hr, which isn’t bad for a coffee shop, and tips average 1.00/hr so at 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 12 weeks until Japan, I’ll end up at: $3420.00 about 2/3s of my Japan fund.

In other news, my father's basement flooded last week while I was in Edmonton. The entire basement was submerged in over 100 gallons of rain water, and Dad, Stephen, 3 muscle men from Sears Canada, and 2 of Stephen's friends spent last Saturday night shlepping everything, and I mean every SINGLE thing, up from the basement. Half of the debris ended up in the trash pile due to water damage. The rest is piled up around the house making Dad's bedroom and the living/family room incredibly chaotic. Stephen and I are currently living at our mother's house, which under normal circumstances wouldn't be a problem. However, because all of my personal belongings are trapped in the bedlam that is my father's living room, I am having to make do with the odds and ends I brought home from Edmonton. Thank god I took the time to pack carefully and marked everything clearly. It's been a while since I've had to live out of boxes, and I'm sure I'll live through this time as well, but it makes me miss my home in Edmonton that much more. I hate feeling displaced like this.

Dad's insurance company claims that because the flood was clean water (as opposed to sewage backup [EWWW]), they are not responsible for covering the expenses. Just to be helpful, I suppose, they estimate the damage will cost him about $25,000. Because the insurance jerks won't do anything, dad had to call Sears (hence their help with moving) and they helped clear out the basement, rip out the carpet, and placed giant (noisy!!) dehydrating fans throughout the basement. These things run 24 hrs/day, and are LOUD, but necessary. Today, Wednesday, 5 days after the fact, they are supposed to return to assess the carpets and walls to let Dad know if he needs to replace any of the drywall and if the carpets can be re-used. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.. as it is, Sears has already cost him about 6500$, and if everything downstairs was saved in time, his costs shouldn't go much higher. If not, well.. I might have to get a 2nd part-time job just to help fix up the basement.

[[For those of you who don't know, btw, the basement is fully developed, and that's where both Stephen's and my bedrooms are, our full bathroom, computer/office room, and our Nintendo/Sega/Playstation set-up is. We also have a cold storage room and other miscellaneous stuff that was scattered around the rec room.]]

Anyways, because I'm living at Mom's, my computer is set up but sans internet. I just hooked up Dad's computer today so I can check email & such when I'm over here checking in on Karma, but otherwise, I'll be disconnected for another week or two or three.

Just wanted to give a quick update, and share my (happy? sad?) 2nd cup news.

Jaa ne~