Did You Know This?

When you arrive at an intersection and the lights change, did you ever wonder why? I did. This is the very thorough answer I received from the RCMP:

Traffic lights are activated by the presence of vehicles by two different systems. One system uses wire loops in the roadway that sense the presence of a vehicle. When the vehicle is above the loop a signal is sent to the traffic signal control computer which is located in a large metal box at the intersection, either on a pole or on the shoulder of the road. Where the loops have been installed in existing asphalt you will see a loop or rectangle of tar on the surface. Where the loops are placed under new asphalt there is no visible sign of the location of the loops.

A second more modern system uses black and white cameras placed on the signal arm near the traffic lights. The camera is directed at the lanes approaching the intersection. When a vehicle enters the lane near the intersection the presence changes the grey scale or image in the camera. The change in the grey scale sends a signal to the traffic signal control similar to the signal sent by the wire loop in the road surface. The camera senses which lane the vehicle is in and the signal determines whether an advanced left turn or green light is required.

Intersections with red light enforcement cameras have several signal loops in the roadway. These loops measure the speed of the vehicles as they enter the intersection and the movement of a vehicle into the intersection when the light is red, which activates the red light camera. The camera takes two pictures, one of the vehicle entering the intersection and one of the vehicle traveling through the intersection, both which also show the phase/colour of the light The photo captures the licence plate and the computer records the time, date and speed of the vehicle.

To my knowledge radar is not used to control signals.

The police do not have the ability to change the traffic signals as they approach. Fire trucks have the ability to change the lights as they approach by sending a signal to a receiver on the signal arm. Not all traffic signals have this receiver.

 

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CATS

There aren’t many benefits to being alone in the world, with no friends to do stuff with, but I discovered at least one. I had planned to surprise a "special someone" with tickets to CATS for our eighth "anniversary", but this obviously went down the drain. I really wanted to see this production, so I swallowed my pride and decided to do the dreaded "go alone" thing. Man, was I rewarded! I went online to buy my tickets, and got seat A7, which I discovered by the seating chart was "front row centre" – a seat I have never been able to get anywhere. It was an amazing experience! In this play the cast often comes down right in front of the stage and one number in particular was performed literally a few feet from me. I was tempted to reach out and hug a cat. Some of them were really "cute cats". One in particular seemed to be looking right at me, although it was a bit frustrating that, with the incredible makeup, I had no idea who she was in real life. 
 
To see CATS is to understand why this is one of the longest running plays in the world. The music and the dancing is beyond description. I was truly impressed with the professionalism of the cast, many of whom were local talent. It’s a huge cast and, without exception they were all just amazing singers and dancers. The choreography was done by our very own Robb Card, and it was inspiring. The moves could not have been more "cat-like". There was a lot of unexpected humor, and some really heart-wrenching moments, like the very tragic "Glamor cat". Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music is much of the reason for the success of this play. If you don’t get that "rush" when Memory starts, one of the most recognizable songs in the world, you are just dead inside. If money was no object I would see CATS again and again. My only regret was not having someone to share this incredible experience with.

New “MySpace”

This was getting too confusing for some people, so I’ve setup a new space under OrchardHillsDesigns for the renovation updates. The email address is orchardhillsdesigns@hotmail.com and the website address is "www.orchardhillsdesigns.spaces.live.com". Please feel free to share it with anyone. My site will now be reserved for personal stuff and there will be no renovation pictures or blogs. Hope that works better.
 
Cheers.

Needed – one good woman..

Like many people looking for that special someone, I belong to sites like Lavalife, Plenty of Fish, Yahoo and Hot or Not. It can get a little frustrating sometimes because many of the women SAY they are looking for email, chat or to meet new people, but they never respond when you contact them. What’s the point of being on there then? I don’t get it. Anyway, the purpose in writing this entry is because anyone I do make contact with gets sent here to learn a little about me, so here goes….
 
This is the dreaded "who am I" task. How do you describe yourself to give an accurate and truthful insight into who you really are? I always felt you should ask your friends to describe you, as it would probably be more accurate, but that might be a task fraught with danger, right? So I’m stuck.
 
I have two dreaded labels that have been placed on me: "nice guy" and "hopeless romantic". I’m never sure about the first one, only because it has been my experience so far that women, in general, don’t know what to do with a "nice guy". They say this is what they want, but then all they do is take advantage of it. Sometimes I believe that women are more attracted to the "bad boys", who are a challenge for them and something they seem to be more used to, which is truly sad. The "hopeless romantic" part has only brought me a lot of hurt over the years, and I continually question why I remain so "hopeless", but I guess this is the very definition of it. I just can’t see the point, never could, in "playing games" and not being romantic if this is how you feel. I believe in any relationship that the courting should never stop. Without it a relationship just becomes stale and this is why people "screw around". They go looking for what they already would have if they just were more romantic. Just because you are with someone and you think you are secure, is that a reason to take it for granted? I don’t think so.
 
The best way I can describe my romantic side is to talk about a past relationship, although many have told me this is very dangerous because women are threatened by the idea that you are still in love, or that they can’t measure up to your past love. This won’t exactly quell that fear, but I have to be honest and say I do still "love" her, but it’s different now. I think it’s a lie to say you were hopelessly in love with your perfect soulmate, but now, because it’s "over", you have no feelings. How could you have really been in love if you can just flip the switch and it’s gone? That doesn’t make sense to me.
 
So, what was so special about this girl? First, we were the very best of friends, in every way. We respected and supported each other in everything we did. We had fun doing all sorts of things together. We talked for hours. We cuddled. We had a thing where, if we were together, we could not go longer than fifteen minutes without kissing each other. It made our friends gag, but I know they just wished they had someone like that. Our song was "Let’s Make Love" by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. If it came on the radio, no matter where we were or what we were doing, we had to drop everything and dance. She would phone me at work or on my cell, and the only thing I would hear was the song. At the end of every single day we would crawl into bed – and we never went to bed separately, and tell each other our "special moment" of the day. It might have been something we did, or said, but it always involved each other. It truly was "special". For no particular reason she would just squeeze my hand or hug me and tell me she loved me. Where ever we were we would catch a glimpse of each other, and smile and sigh, secure in the knowledge that we were truly in love. We had a great sex life. We were intimate with each other all the time and always had passion. We never had angry words between us and always went to bed happy, no matter how hard that was sometimes. We worked together on renovating the house. We shared our dreams for the future and we were both heavily involved in her kids upbringing, even though they were not my kids. She treated me as an equal and we had a genuine mutual respect for each other. She was totally comfortable with PDA’s (public displays of affection) and never once said no. We both knew our lives together were so much richer than apart, and it is why we remain great friends five years later. We have both moved on and know that we will never be together as we were, but we still treasure what we have now, and it does not in any way threaten any new relationship. Is it a "benchmark" of sorts for someone else? Well, certainly, because if you don’t have those same kinds of feelings for someone else, then you are not in love, at least not the way you want to be. You will have your own "special moments", of course, but they will be unique ones for you.
 
Okay, so what’s wrong with the "nice guy" part? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know, but it seems that my pattern is to treat a woman like gold, because I want to and because I think she deserves the best I have to offer. If I care for her, I tell her. I’m openly affectionate and just love to hug and kiss and hold hands. I am old school in the sense that I believe if we’re dating, I should pay. I am very uncomfortable with "going Dutch" or, God forbid, having a woman pay. It just goes against who I am. I open doors and do everything a gentlemen does, out of respect and habit. Would I like to be treated well in return? Certainly, but it never seems to happen. I have no difficulty with paying, if we’re in a developing relationship and I feel like a "date". Where the problem develops is when all I ever do is pay and pay. There’s no affection or love coming back, just the dreaded "friends" idea. I have friends and it’s not that I don’t want more. You can never have too many friends, but if you are with someone you have expressed feelings for and they know it, then are you not just being used if they want to remain "just friends"? I’m not suggesting that you need to "pay up" if you’re not sleeping with me, but I think it’s unfair to keep the ruse going if you know this isn’t going the way I think it is. That’s just cruel and unfair. I would just like to meet someone who understands and appreciates having a "nice guy" care for them. Someone who won’t see me as an easy mark and take advantage of me. At the very least be upfront with me and be blunt. Tell me you like me as a friend, but there’s nothing else, so let’s keep it friendly. Don’t play head games by encouraging me to think it’s more.
 
Sorry, that became a rant of sorts. I’m just frustrated that I can’t seem to find a "nice girl" who wants to make our lives together special. Who realizes I am one of the "good guys", who can be trusted, especially with your heart. I don’t want or need someone who is so cautious that they are not willing to give everything they’ve got to developing a special relationship. Okay, so you are "strong" and "independant" and "don’t need a man" to be happy, but get over it. It’s okay to just be real and admit that being in love is the best feeling in the world. That waking up in someone’s arms, knowing that to them you are the most special person in the world, is a true joy. No, you don’t "need" them, but you do choose them to share your life.
 
Okay so now I’ve either scared you away, or encouraged you to take the next step. I hope this has helped, either way.    
 
 

Fantasy Women

Hopefully I’m not the only one who has these thoughts and I’m just the one who admits them in public. Many years ago I thought of publishing a book containing my fantasies about women I had met or had seen, thinking people might buy it to see if they were in there and what I said about them. One of my first was my babysitter, Sharon, so that shows you how long ago it was.
 
The other day I met yet another "what if" woman, and she sparked my interest in reviving the project. For the purposes of my blog I think I’ll limit this to the women I meet and not go into any great detail on the fantasy I had about them. This might offend and get me into trouble with husbands and boyfriends if anyone finds out.
 
As a diabetic I have to have my blood work done every few months just as a check to see I am not getting any worse. Normally I go to the clinic here in Westbank, but I had to be in Rutland to pickup a friend’s doors that I am replacing, so on Wednesday I went to the clinic in Rutland for the first time. I got there around 7:30 and there were a few people in line so I thought I’d just watch the line to see when to get in the line. A van pulled in beside me and a beautiful blonde, with the most amazing long blonde hair got out and walked up to the line, so I jumped out and got in behind her. She was about maybe 5′ 6" and had a gorgeous figure – not my usual petite thing, but certainly nice. She had on a white top and black capri pants and sandals. There was no ring. My brain was racing, trying to think of what to say to start a conversation. There was a guy sitting on a Harley who wasn’t actually in the line, so I asked her if she thought he was at the front of the line, or back of the line? Then I said I guessed he was where ever he wanted to be. We chatted a bit about nothing, then went in. After we gave our cards I sat beside her with my paper and again tried some small talk, hoping to get that one key fact that would let me get to know her better, but no such luck. Then they called her name, "Margaret Jones", and I just about fell out of my chair. When they called  mine they put me in a chair right across from her. Taking blood only takes a minute or so, and I was so anxious to get it done and meet her outside, where I would say something about the names. Just as she was done, and I was done, I lept out of the chair to follow her, but my nurse said I had to give a urine sample. Damn! I did it as fast as I could and rushed outside, but she was gone.
 
Now I had a name, albeit a "Jones" of which there is no shortage, and I knew she lived in Rutland, so I started my quest on the Internet to find her. Couldn’t find any "Margaret", but I did find a "Margie", which suited her better anyway. Well, this boy has no shame, so I sent her a letter in the faint hope this was her, and she might respond. I said if it wasn’t her to have a good laugh on me and forgive me for being the hopeless romantic I am. Think though, if it is her, and we meet and live happily ever after? What a great story that would make, eh?
 
Hope lives on.    

Weekend

Have to keep some balance here. Weekend wasn’t great, for obvious reasons, but I did manage to keep busy, despite the pain in my foot and in my heart. Went to Penticton Saturday to Peachfest with Sylvie, and to see my band – The Salmon Armenians. Although I wanted to stay to see The Powder Blues Band, Sylvie wanted to leave, so we started looking for somewhere to eat. With Peachfest on everywhere was crazy busy, with at least a forty-five minute wait, so we headed off to Peachland, and had a great meal at The Gashaus. Sylvie bought dinner, which was a bonus and a really unusual experience for me, cause all I ever do is pay. We sat down on the beach after dinner and talked relationships, which was strange with an ex, but helpful.
 
Sunday I got an email from Lorraine in the ski club asking if there was a hike today, but with my foot hiking isn’t possible, so we went up to the Kettle Valley Railroad to bike. I had been up there to bike the actual trestle bed, but never the new bypass. Don’t bother. It’s a long hill climb and just a logging road through the bush. No real scenery and nothing special. Better to ride the railbed.
 
Came home to BBQ a steak and relax and ice my foot. Got a call and had an very unpleasant argument with you know who. It ended with me hanging up, which I never do, when she had the nerve to suggest I didn’t care. After almost eight months of showing her in every way possible just how much I did care, waiting patiently for her to respond even a little, and trying desperately to understand how cold she could be with me, this was the final insult. She professes to not be a cruel person, but to even suggest I don’t care after what I have done these past few months is unbelievably cruel. Another knife cut. I am getting pretty battered and bruised and losing my faith in love, that’s for sure. Finding a good woman to share my life is becoming a fantasy.  

Sad thoughts.

This one ain’t pretty. Some of you may know that Gary Athens, the former champion skier, and most recently, Real Estate agent, died. He was diabetic. He was 51. I am diabetic. I am 56. You just never know what lies ahead. Not all of us write from the heart. I do, unfortunately. I’ve had some recent sadness, losing someone who had become the most important person in my life, and a person I hoped to grow old with. We had what to most would be a minor argument, but I was thrown out like last week’s garbage, just like that. The months of caring and devoting myself to making her happy, doing everything I could, with nothing in return, vanished in an instant. I fell in love with her because I believed she was an honest, genuine, good person. It was obviously only a matter of time before I discovered how used and abused I was. I feel truly foolish for falling for it. I thought I knew better. The heart does truly blind. No more. If there isn’t a woman out there who sincerely appreciates what you do for her, and proves it by giving it all back, then I will be alone. No matter how much I hate doing things alone, and not having someone special to share my life with, it is better than the abuse of a totally selfish relationship. Woman say they just want someone to respect them and care for them and love them and be honest and faithful and all the rest that turns out to be nothing but lies. I guess all the good unselfish women are still married. The rest have been divorced for good reason. And I’m not talking here about women who have suffered their own abuse or lived with men who are just as bad. They had no choice, and I only wish with all my heart that I could find one. I will treat her like gold, but, this time, I will expect it in return. No more "mister nice guy" who’ll put up with anything no matter what. 

 

Not even sure who the hell I do this for anymore. Maybe it’s just the demons in me, or a burning frustration at the disappointments of our lives, well, mine anyways. I want to have such dying unconditional faith in the basic goodness of people and, yet, time and time again, my faith is shattered. No one really cares anymore. It seems everyone has adopted the "what have you done for me lately?" approach. If you are kind and generous and trusting and caring and always put the other person’s interests first, you just end up kicked in the teeth. From being the first one to jump to help someone, to professing your undying love for someone, it never seems to come back. "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" should be "do good unto others and never ever expect it back". Friends are not there when you need them. They are only there when they need you. If you have something they want; if you make them feel good about themselves; if they are sad and need some cheering up; if they’re in a nasty mood and just want someone to take it out on, they grow to expect you to be there for them. But don’t ever expect the same in return. And it does not matter if you have been there for them once, ten times, or a hundred. Cross them once or fail to come through just once the way they expect you to, and you are toast my friend. Guilt about how they respond to you? None. Do they feel bad when they let you down the way you wouldn’t even think of letting them down? Not a chance. Just behave the way they expect and do everything in your power to keep them happy and things will be just fine. But just try once to tell them what you need, no matter how small, and you are out of their life in a heartbeat. It’s no wonder we have so many divorces and failed relationships. People have become so selfish. They have lost the ability to truly and honestly care about anyone but themselves. And if you are unfortunate enough to really care for them, in the "want to spend the rest of my life with you" sense, you are doomed if you tell them. Bare your soul to them and give them total honesty and you are only setting yourself up for heartache. They come to just expect your love and affection and see no reason why you should expect it back. How could you be so unreasonable? "Yes, I know you do everything for me and you are always there for me as a devoted and true friend, but you think you’ll get the same in return? Yeah, right." How unbelievably cruel. Not my kind of world anymore, that’s for sure.
 
You know who I’m talking about. You might see yourself all too clearly here, but it’s okay, you won’t care anyway. You might call once in a blue moon. Because you honestly care? No. Because you haven’t had your "me me me" fix in a while, that’s why. You ask how I am, which would be great if you actually cared, but no matter what I say, you always have a "me" answer. "Well, I’m a little down today because my foot is really sore, and I can’t….". "Yeah, I know what you mean. My arm has been bugging me for weeks now and blah blah blah," and off they go, all about them. They wonder why you haven’t called them to do something, you see, because YOU are the one that is supposed to plan everything. Get everything organized and plan it for them and you also get to PAY for it as well, just to rub salt in the wound. Aren’t you the lucky one? Wait for them to just call you up out of the blue and suggest you get together? You will die waiting.
 
It is a sad commentary on my life, and I accept it, that after all these many years on this planet, always trying to do my very best for everyone around me, I only have one person I can call a true friend, and she knows who she is. It’s always been a two-way street with us and we both know we would do anything for each other. She lives a long way away and I regret I have not had the opportunity to help her as much as she has me, from coming to my rescue to get me desperately needed help to move, to jumping on a plane and helping me like no one else, including family, when my Dad suddenly passed away, she has shown herself to be a genuine caring friend. I treasure just knowing her and she does restore my faith that there are still some good people in the world. Everyone else just calls when they need me to do something for them.
 
The hurtful things that people do has no limits. When my father passed away my mother needed full-time care because of her Alzheimer’s. My sister has a full-time business and my brother was overseas. There really was no choice in the matter, so I moved in with her immediately to care for her. Anyone who knows anything about living with a person with Alzheimer’s knows it is a living hell. No matter what sort of abouse you have lived with before, the things a person with Alzheimer’s says are the very definition of cruel. My mother threw me out of the house at least forty times. I had to take a course to qualify for employment insurance, so my Mum had to go into daycare. She absolutely refused and tried to jump out of the car on the way there. It scared the living hell out of me. My frustration had hit the breaking point and I asked her why I had given up my life for her, and not my brother or sister. Her answer? "Because you are f*king useless!" It broke my heart. I thought I could never ever feel that sort of pain again, but even that turned out to be wrong.
 
I went through hell caring for her for nine months. I worked every single day on her place, knowing she had to sell it and go into a home soon. I fought with banks and health care people trying to get her into a place she would be comfortable in her remaining years. There are no words to describe how bad it was. I asked for nothing from my family and I got nothing. My brother looked after her for ONE night in six months, so I could get a much needed break, and he couldn’t handle it. He forgot to give her her medicine (he was a nurse) and called me early in the morning to come home because he couldn’t handle it. My sister came down from Revelstoke on the weekends to give me a break, but she had no idea what I was going through. All she saw was a happy Mum who just wanted to drink and gamble. Now she knows what it was like. Caring for Mum now has brought her to the edge of a nervous breakdown. And she has never once done it seven days a week like I did. I never once asked for thanks or refused to accept my responsibility. I knew that I would perservere and get into a care facility, which I did, and get my life back. My nephew had occasion to visit me a while back and we started talking about how my life was with Mum. I know he meant no malice, but, because he was shocked to learn what I had been through, he just made an offhanded comment about what my sister and brother had said. "They said you did nothing". It cut like a knife.
 
It is a low point in my life. I am struggling to renovate my place, working too many long days and in pain. I don’t know if my foot is related to my diabetes or not. I hope not because there are too many stories about losing your feet when you are diabetic. Those of you who know how active I am know that it would literally kill me to not be able to do the things I love. I doubt I am strong enough to go on, and I am ashamed to admit it, knowing how many people in the world live with much worse, but we are who we are.
 
I hope things get better soon. I am depressed, lonely, frustrated, and slowly losing it. Oh, and I haven’t had sex in a year. Maybe that’s the real problem? 
     
 
 

Movie Review

Just a quick note to tell you about the movie Step Up. Although the guy’s acting leaves a bit to be desired, the dancing is great. It’s a mix of cultures and dance – ballet and streets, and the dance sequences are great. The story is a little predictable, but still a nice romance, if you like that sort of thing (I do) and the finale is worth the price of the movie. Heard people on the way out say "let’s see it again". My sentiments exactly.
 
Some sad news – I was out garage saleing and they had one at Shady Rest, where Mum and Dad used to live. I noticed an "Office" sign on one of the units down the road, and asked one of the neighbours what was going on. She said Mike, the manager of the park for over thirty years, passed away this morning. He wasn’t good the last time I spoke with him, so I wasn’t surprised, but it’s always sad when someone you’ve known forever passes away. They think the funeral is next weekend, so I’ll try to attend. No point in worrying about telling Mum because she wouldn’t have a clue who Mike was. Sad.
  

Sometimes Life Just Sucks

Haven’t heard a thing from the police, naturally. I’ve been out driving around almost every night hoping beyond hope to find the little shit. Guess it’s a good thing in a way because I’d lose it on him and be charged myself. I am so miffed about losing all of the pictures from the weekend. That is a REAL drag. There were some really good ones in there of Capilano and sunsets and, oh well, gone now.
 
Can’t say enough about Canadian Tire. I phoned them originally to see about getting a serial number for the police. Spoke to a lovely girl called Amanda who could not have been more helpful. Even though they had no record of the serial number, she spoke to the Manager in the Sports Dept and they offered me a new bike at the sale price I originally paid, even though it’s not on sale. Great people at CTC.
 
On the camera front, I’ve had a lot of digital cameras (yes, the last one was stolen too), some good and some bad, but my little Panasonic, which was the cheapest of the them all, was the best. I wasn’t in any hurry to buy anything else, but then I realized I NEED a camera to record my renovation. After all this I can’t suddenly stop now, so off I went to XS Cargo, in the very faint hope they would still have one. Bonus! They did, so I can now keep up with the reno. Todays installment is a big one, for me anyway, because we finally got the window in! My very first window install and it went very well. We took our time and did everything right and it works beautifully. Really adds a lot of daylight to the living room, which is just what I wanted. Pics on this blog.
 
My life certainly has changed since last weekend. Been pretty darned quiet without the nightly phone calls. Guess it’s for the best. I am regretably accepting my new single status and heading off to see Step Up tonight – a new dance movie, and I’m off to Penticton tomorrow for Peachfest, and to see my Salmon Armenians and The Powder Blues Band. No dancin on the grass this time I guess. Sunday I’m heading up to bike the Kettle Railway bypass, which I haven’t done yet. Have a good one!

The Coast was Clear….

Promised a follow-up on the weekend. Didn’t think it would be quite this early today, but, yes, I’m home already and pretty blue, so here goes the theraphy.
 
Lots of good and some very major bad – I lost one of the only remaining pairs of my contacts – the "thirty day" ones I’ve now been using for over a year and a half. Guess it was time. More importantly I lost the "girlfriend" I guess I finally have to admit I never had, and, regretably, also lost someone I thought was a good friend. I’m bouncing back and forth between bitternes and sadness, so I won’t make a lot of sense, but it’s important for me to bring some closure here to get on with my life.
 
You all know Gary is the true "hopeless romantic" and I’ve certainly been proving it over and over these last few months. Even faced with overwhleming experience, over and over, that there was just nothing there for her, I kept thinking that if I just did that one right thing she would break down and start to show something for me. No such luck! I spent hours last week pouring over Vancouver websites, trying to plan the perfect weekend. It started off promising because we were originally leaving around 2:00 o’clock on Friday, which became 10:30, and then she phoned to tell me she was on her way at nine. Yippee! Bonus. We took the long way down, along highway 3 – the scenic route and it was a great trip. We stopped at Brimley Park to enjoy the lunch she had brought. Gorgeous spot (see pictures). Although we hit a bunch of traffic when we got there, we managed to meet her son just coming home. She was supposed to be my navigator, which was a laugh because we rarely knew where we were, but, most importantly, we didn’t care and didn’t argue, which was great.
 
After getting sort of organized we were off to Boon County to dance. Unfortunately the music wasn’t great and my foot was absolutely killing me, but we did get in a couple of hours, and got the usual compliments about our dancing, which is always nice to hear.
 
Saturday got off to a little rocky start when we ended up going into North Vancouver when we were supposed to be heading downtown for the Chinese Festival. In our wandering around she said she felt like bacon and eggs, and so did I (no eggs), so we stopped at Denny’s for a fantastic breakfast. Our server was terrific and laughed at how lost we were, but it fun. We finally ended up at the festival and, although not quite what I expected, still enjoyed it. Prices were much better than you would expect at a thing like that and I bought her some earings and a great dance skirt at one of the shops. The original plan was to blade Stanley Park, but my foot was still sore from dancing, and more importantly, I was worried she might not do well if there were a lot of people. Our plan changed to meeting her son and daughter-in-law to bike the park instead. Turned out to be the right move and we had a ball. There was a bit of a parking fiasco because we thought we were parked in a free area, and had a ticket when we got back, but I’m fighting it.
 
Then we drove over to Granville Island and parked, to get ready for the fireworks that night. We rode down to the Science Centre and back, then wandered around the market for a bit. Enjoyed some awesome fudge! We met them and hiked out what seemed like miles to Vanier Park to wait for the fireworks. Even though it was still in the mid-twenties, she got very cold. I suggested she snuggle on the blanket with me and I’d keep her warm, but no such luck. The kids had brought Chinese Food, which was the perfect dinner for us. The fireworks were okay, but not what any of us expected. Mexico was the sponsor that night, and we were surprised they won the competition. The others must have been really bad. After the finale it was a bit of a mad scramble to get out of there and we ended up in the quite the traffic jam for a long time.
 
There was another parking "incident" at the fireworks, and anyone who cares to comment on this one, feel free. When we got to the parking lot mid-afternoon there was a sign that read "Sat – Sun. Flat Rate – $3" so we paid our money and got our tickets. When we came back to put our bikes back on the truck, there was a new sign taped over the meter saying "Special Event – $15". The guy said we had to pay or we would be towed, so while she argued with him and checked other vehicles to see what they had on their dash, I phoned the towing company and explained it to them and suggested they best not tow my truck. She agreed with me that I pay the balance of the $15, then write to the parking company to get my money back. Downright extortion, eh?
 
Sunday at least started okay. I had wanted to start at the Capilano Bridge, but said we had to get there early to make it worth it to pay the $50 bucks entrance fee. She was still sleeping soundly when we needed to be leaving, so I went off to get a coffee and some ice for the cooler. When I came back I told her we were too late for my plan, but we agreed we would sacrifice the Lonsdale Quay if we were running late, so off we went to Capilano. I could write a very long story about Capilano, but all I want anyone to know is "go". It’s way more than just a suspension bridge and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a must do if you are in Vancouver. She got a nice pendant and I got a hat at the gift shop. After watching people struggle to walk across the bridge I told her the first one who touched the railing lost. It was tougher than it sounds, but we both made it across and back without touching.
 
Time was still good so we headed off to Lonsdale after all, which turned out to be a good thing. We had the best Halibut and Chips at a place called Montgomery’s in the market, and we sat down to watch the Tina Turner impersonator. There was what looked like a very aggressive seagull with his eyes on her fish, and I kept shooing him away. He was behind her and suddenly made a dive for her fish, which scared to crap out of her. The Tina Turner impersonator turned out to be more like Tina Turner than Tina Turner. Just incredible. She has the voice – both when she talked and when she sang; the dance moves, and the "Hotlegs" dancers were terrific. Truly enjoyable show. That lady worked very hard in the blazing sunshine. What a trooper. 
 
I called her son to meet us at Lynn Canyon next. I should not have called because this is the turning point for the weekend. It was very crowded and a little stressful, but it was neat to see the cliff divers, dangerous as it is. There had been some words about her moving a branch in the creek when there were so many people downstream if it took off. She has also made a rather insulting comment about my foot – yes, the very very sore one, and I had snapped at her, asking if she could find anything else wrong with me. This is where I started to get angry and frustrated. Because of my foot I suggested I would stay at the bottom of the huge stairs while they all ran up and down – something I had done before and I didn’t need any more pain. When they came back she took off with them, totally ignoring me. It was very painful for me to walk over the stones and roots sticking out, so I was a little slower. At one point I wondered if I just stoppped to rest, would they even notice? 
 
When we got back to the beginning I knew something was wrong, but, as usual, had no clue what it was. She was in a snit and sullen as she always is when someone says or does something she doesn’t like. I got none answers to anything I said and that "whatever" look of scorn. I asked if she wasn’t feeling well or was she in a snit about something and the argument started. It ended up that I was taking her back to her son’s place. I took a wrong turn, so she said to get her to a bus and she would find her way home. With the wrong turn I ended up going back downtown to Canada Place where we were supposed to be going in the first place, but we were taking the Seabus across to avoid driving downtown again. Anyway, I didn’t have time to take her all the way home, then back for IMAX, and I really thought she would enjoy it as she’d never seen it before. We saw Alaska and it was enjoyable after all. We also saw four huge cruise ships all leave within about an hour of each other. Man, those things are the size of buildings! 
 
With our ticket to IMAX we got a coupon for a place called the Stonegrill so we decided to give it a try. The meal was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was so unique in that they bring you a steak on a volcanic stone and you cook it at your table. A very unique experience. The place was under the Granville bridge, built right out over the water. It’s too bad there was no chance for romance because it’s a great spot for it. She was deathly quiet and determined not to enjoy anything, so I told her I realized that with me was the very last place on earth she wanted to be right now, but to please "buck up" and try to enjoy the very nice meal we were having. She became a little less sullen. We walked along the seawall after dinner, but it was just a walk. Certainly no cuddles and affection here. She hadn’t been on an aquabus either, so we booted across and right back to Granville Island on one, just so she can now say she has. They didn’t charge us for the return trip which was nice of them. 
 
The plan for today was to have breakfast with the kids as a thanks for letting me stay there, then go to Ikea, then go berry picking in Chilliwack. She had spent some time on the Internet trying to find places to go picking. Breakfast at Denny’s was good again and we said our good-byes. Ikea was very busy and we got seperated and she didn’t find what she wanted, but I got a table and chairs for my kitchen, so I finally have somewhere to eat other than my lap. We headed off in plenty of time to go berry picking which I was looking forward to as they have some of the best berries in that area. When I suggested we get to Chilliwack, then drive off and look for some signs for U-Picks, she said she "wouldn’t bother". The whole day was planned with the idea to get to the berry picking in time to get home at a reasonable hour and now we were heading home on the holiday at noon! I said if I had known that I could have called Julia, who I missed because we were so busy, or we could have gone biking at the University, or a million other things we could have done while we were there. She said I could go berry picking by myself.
 
All I was getting was attitude and it seemed like the plan was to be as difficult as possible to make me miserable. The trip home was in silence – yes, four and a half hours of nothing – a first for me, and something I hope never to repeat. It was obvious she couldn’t get home fast enough and just wanted to be rid of me. This was the thanks I got for planning the whole weekend and paying for everything – $650 bucks at last count? The goal of the trip was to cheer her up from some recent sadness she’s had. Sure, I hoped somewhere along the way she would finally melt a little and see how much fun we had together and that I am a good guy, and maybe throw me a crumb of affection in the process. Instead all I got was attitude and a lousy end to what should have been a fantastic weekend. It broke my heart to know that she had killed the very real affection and love I had for her. Her total disinterest, lack of any affection whatsoever, and pushing me away has been beating my ego up for months now, but this finally did me in. I am incredibly sad though that I am so pissed at the way she behaved to me that I can’t see having anything more to do with her, even as a friend, because apparently she can’t bring herself to treat me at least as good as a friend, no matter how hard I try. I have done my very best and it obviously just isn’t good enough for her. I hope she finds what she is looking for. It certainly ain’t me. This boy is done trying. Enough is enough. Although I truly hate being alone, or doing anything on my own, at least I don’t abuse myself when I’m alone.
 
If anyone out there is looking for a good, kind, generous, loving, romantic guy who just wants someone special to share our lives together with, I am SO available. Wounded, but still believing in love, even with my recent experience.
 
Well, that was a fitting end to the weekend, just when I thought it could not possibly get any worse. I had unloaded everything from the truck into the driveway. It was so hot I thought I’d wait for it to cool down a bit before I put everything away. I went out to grab my backpack though to download all the pictures, and couldn’t find it. Then I noticed a bike sitting there that wasn’t mine, and, of course, mine was gone. Some punk had traded up for mine, which is bad enough, but I’m really pissed they got my camera with all the pictures. That really burns me! I spent the entire weekend triple locking the bikes because we had been told bike theft is out of control in Vancouver, then it gets stolen right out of my driveway beside the house, with all my doors open and me sitting right here. Unfriggin believable. There was some really good pictures on there. Damn!