7.04.2016

the visitors

So after two years of living here my father finally decides to pay me a visit, and it had nothing to do with me. Go dad! We've not had the best relationship and I prefer our interactions keep to a bare minimum. About a month ago he had called and left me a voice mail. It's the usual call to ask how I'm doing despite his really not caring what my answer is. This time was different though and he asked me to call him back because it was important. Ok, so I called him back to see what was so important. He starts asking me all about my work at the sanctuary and wants to know more details. Who is this man? Turns out he has some real estate clients (Chinese Nationals) who are buying houses through him who also happen to love and have dogs of their own. Most of what he'd told me was fairly innocuous, but things started to get fishy with the story as he went on. Over the course of their getting to know each other they had both learned that they had kids (who are unmarried but well into a marry-able age). Oh really!!! Here's where the fishiness began. The part about what I did and now do for a living came up after my unmarried existence was revealed, and that's when they had said they would like to visit. "When!" I asked with absolute dread in my heart. He said he didn't know and that it would probably be months later. Hearing that put me at ease, but it was sooner than he'd guessed I would come to learn. Now to be fair to everyone this may have been exactly as intended. Animal lovers coming to see a sanctuary through someone who has an in there. But if you've picked up on what I did, you're probably wondering if someone is hoping for a love connection here. Just so you guys don't think I'm jumping to conclusions my father had told my sister about all of this and she smelled it too. I had even explained this to a few close friends/coworkers. One in particular said that I should give it a chance. I told her she was freaking high and there would be no chances. I don't let my parents even pick out a stitch of clothing for me much the less a wife.

As a side note allow me to explain a few things. I think my father is desperate for not just a grandchild from me, but also an heir to carry the family name forward. I'm the only male born into this family. Without reliving any painful details of my childhood my father was mostly physically abusive, but on occasion also mentally abusive during my childhood. Hence why we've not had the best relationship.

A little over a month after our initial conversation I received another call from dad. His message stated that they were coming in a week'ish. I called back to learn that they hadn't booked a hotel, or set a hard date. Great! I'd explained to him in our last convo that I would need at least three weeks to put in for, and see if I get the time off for whatever date I'd requested. We managed to work it out and they would come out on my weekend off. I explained that the tour would only allow them to interact with one dog, and that they would have to volunteer if they wanted to work with more. I also explained about a dog sleepover program we have that volunteers can do, so that they could get a hotel room that allows for dogs. He had to find out if they wanted to do this and would have to call me back. When he called back he said that they'd only be doing the tour. Dad also said they'd only be here two nights and would be headed to spend time in Vegas. Ok. I'm used to "animal lovers" and this wasn't what I'd expected.

D day arrives. They arrive late evening where most everything is closed. This was expected and we meet for dinner at the only place in town that's still open. I arrive and say my Hello's to everyone. The mother asks if I can speak any Chinese. I reply in english "only the bad words" he said, and point to my dad. They laugh. The father makes a gracious offer to put me up and provide me with a car/driver should I ever go to Bejing. I thank him for the generous offer but won't be able to take him up on it. I explain that I can't afford it based on what I earn for a living now. Dad translates, he replies "anytime". I know what you're wondering. Yes, the daughter was present. No. Very simply, no. By the way, did I mention just how awkward I was feeling throughout all of this. So after dinner I go home to pickup B so she can see my mom and dad. She loves them. We arrive at the hotel and B goes emotionally ballistic at the sight of them. The family is also there and they meet B. What was telltale was how they were and interacted with her. They barely touched her after explaining that she's bombproof with people and dogs.

The following day I met up with everyone after breakfast and we wound fitting in their SUV. I drove. It was a new Mercedes Benz alphabet class something or other number. I don't recall. What I do recall was how much of a nanny state vehicle this was based on all the safety features installed. As I write this a recent news story broke about how an autonomous car claimed it's first human life. Skynet is born. I digress. We go on the tour and dad translates a bunch of questions/answers throughout. In short they learn and have fun. After the tour we have lunch at the cafe, on premises. Mom suggests/springs on me that we should go to Zion. I explain that I need to return home to potty walk B and maybe turn on the AC since the temps are well into the 90s. My travel trailer sits under a lot of tree cover so things don't warm up until after 1pm. We do this, and then go to Zion.

All we did was drive thru the park, stopped at the visitors center, and then back the way we came. Everyone returned to their hotel rooms to rest before dinner. We ate at the local Chinese restaurant. I warned my parents that the prices were too high, the portions were too little, and the cooking was alright. Everyone agreed with me on all counts. Everyone following me already knows how active I am and as a result consume a lot of calories to keep up with the demand. At dinner I pretty much ate all the leftovers. The initial part was hunger which was satiated, and the latter was that I didn't want it to go to waste. The family thought I really loved Chinese food in light of my fathers lack of translation that I didn't want it to go to waste. This prompted a question about why, if I liked Chinese food so much, didn't I live back in SoCal. My dad was good with letting them think I just liked the food a lot. I explained again that I didn't want it to go to waste, I like Chinese food but no more than any other kind of food. I also explained that there's no way I would ever move back to SoCal because I hate large cities, crowds, and prefer living someplace where it takes me minutes to exit it. I love being able to walk with my dog and not run into another living soul. Dad obviously took the cheap way out and didn't bother explaining all that. I'm glad that their daughter understood english despite not being able to converse in it well. I'm trusting that she explained in better detail at a later time. The looks on their faces sufficed as they at least understood that I would not ever return to live near or with my parents.

Over that last day there were many questions and comments designed to get a feel for me which I'd answered honestly. Unfortunately I had to trust my father's accuracy in translation. He's can be very selective in that regard. I spent a mere few moments talking to the daughter. She is a nice enough person, but as I'd stated earlier. No. My body language and otherwise total lack of interest should have been clear indicators to put that hopeful connection to rest.

In summation, a couple of Wong's does not make me Mr. Right. I'm just sayin'!

6.28.2016

two years

First off. My two year anniversary of employment at Best Friends was last week Thursday. I know! When I arrived I had no idea how things would play out for me. I arrived half expecting to bomb out during the interview only to return to everything I tried to leave behind. Instead I was given a shot by way of the two week working interview, and ultimately getting hired. This journey has been one of the most rewarding ones I've ever undertaken in my life. I've learned so much in this new endeavor and continue discovering new things every day.

Now that I've come this far I'm thinking in terms of what my next move will be. I'm not looking to leave this organization or what I currently do so much as start to plan how I want to proceed in this organization. When I arrived I did a mini assessment and came up with either moving into training or medical as a vet tech (possibly more). I've had immersion days in both now and am no closer to a decision than when I started. That's ok though. I think spending more time in my current role as a dog caregiver will not hinder and only help me in the long run. One of the parameters I need to consider now which wasn't something I had to deal with before, is my advancing age. Ok, I know you ancient ones out there will say I'm still young blah blah blah. The reality is we all age differently and I may start falling apart sooner than you did, or worse, die. However, while I'm still full of piss and vinegar I intend to do what drives my passion. Albeit in my now signature calm, cool, and collected overall demeanor. I know that I'll never truly stop learning in anything I do, but it's simply a matter of finding the right path.

There are some potential changes due to come into my life soon, but I'm not at liberty to discuss them yet. I will, I promise. My next post will be, humorous. Mainly for any audience willing to read it. For me it was a slow familial torture which I'll be sharing with you in my next post. Until then ... I void warranties!

6.19.2016

the shuttle ride

Last month when family was visiting I was showing them the sites at one of the nearby national parks. Zion to be exact. For anyone who hasn't visited yet, they have an excellent shuttle service. There are roughly 9-10 stops from beginning to end and the wait is (at worst) approximately 15 minutes between them. I know this because I live less than 20 minutes away and have a national parks pass. So I'm there with the uncle and aunt and we've seen everything we want to see and catch the shuttle back to the main visitors center. I pull out my smartphone to play a little Ingress. Yes there's signal (sporadic) out there, and portals I can interact with. During the ride back a brother and sister in their 20's board and sit on the bench behind me. He notices I'm into what I'm doing and can't resist saying something we both know is well within earshot of me. It turned out to be a piss poor attempt at shaming me. I wish self righteous pricks would learn to keep their mouths shut when they don't have all the facts. To be fair to the guy he might've thought I was a visiting "Asian" tourist who doesn't understand or speak english. Although in retrospect that makes him more of a prick for talking about people who are unable to defend themselves. Here's a transcript (based on memory) of what was said.

SRP: Why would you want to do that when ... look at all this scenery. 
Me: *thinks to self* Here we go
SRP: On the way in I saw a lady playing solitaire on her smarthphone. I mean why come out here if you're gonna do that. She never looked up once.
Me: *turns around* I live here, and have for two years. I also happen work in this scenery year round.
SRP: *stunned silence*
Me: I have a national parks pass and hike here frequently so forgive me if I use my smartphone while riding the shuttle. 
SRP: Sorry.
Me: I see this scenery all the time and never tire of it but that doesn't mean I have to stare at it every waking moment each time I'm here. 
SRP's Sister: Hey ... 
Me: *cuts her off* I was minding my own business before he chose a course of action firmly aimed at me which I had to endure. At least I have the courtesy of addressing him directly instead of pulling that passive aggressive bullshit!
SRP's Sister: blah blah 
Me: *wasn't listenting and cut her off again* Do you have anything else you need to either say to me or passive aggressively say about what I'm doing behind my back, if not I'll go back to quietly minding my own business!!!
SRP & SRP's Sister: *silence*
Me: Thank you *turns back around and resumes playing ingress*

I didn't hear a word uttered by either for the remainder of the ride. My uncle and aunt didn't hear the exchange despite being seated in front of me. Not that it would've mattered. When we arrived at the visitors center I waited for everyone behind me to exit. Neither of them would make eye contact with me as they left. I did catch a few toothy grins from the people who saw this final exchange.