Snow in Vancouver, Dinner on the Island

Today is an auspicious date for me — one year ago today, I started my new job, working for a company that makes video games. A year later, I’m still here, despite the difficulties Radical went through in October and the layoffs that followed. Frankly, I’m surprised that things have turned out they way they have.

Speaking of new jobs, Allison has a new job as well. After countless (and some very strange) interviews, she started last Wednesday (10 February 1999) with InterLogic Engineering in Surrey as the Corporate Presence Guru. Okay, that’s not her *official* title, but I think that would be a good one.

It was on her start day that I really began to hate snow. At least in Vancouver, that is. Well, actually, Vancouver itself isn’t that bad — it’s Burnaby, New Westminster, and Surrey I hate.

Here’s what happened. It seems our old friend Murphy noticed that Allison was to start a new job, and Heaven forbid that she have an easy time of it. So he made it snow. A lot. We woke up that morning to a few inches of snow. That in itself wouldn’t be so bad — except that no-one here knows what to do with it. (And it doesn’t help that there’s no-one here who knows how to remove it.)

Allison doesn’t like driving in the snow here, especially in her car (it’s a small Toyota). Considering all the morons in SUVs (sports utility vehicles) out here, it’s not unusual not to want to drive. Being the gentleman that I am (okay, you can all stop snickering now!), I offered to drive her to work.

Normally, the trip is about 30 minutes. We left at about 7:40 so Allison could be at work for 8:30 (that her start time). By 8:00, we were just beginning to inch our way over the bridge into Surrey … and saw the line of 10,000 cars trying to climb a teeny-tiny little hill. Of course, the hill was covered in a nice sheet of ice.

Realising that we weren’t going to get anywhere fast, I whipped out my trust map of the Lower Mainland, found a detour, and promptly ended up looking at another hill. Allison had always complained of how “flat” Surrey was — I was, not surprisingly, annoyed when she told me that there were hills in Surrey. The hills never seem to count when it’s dry and free of snow…

Anyway, I turned around to go back to the 10,000 car pileup, and accidentally turned down the wrong road. This turned out to be a very fortuitous accident — it led us up a nice, relatively clear road, and got us around the lineups.

Just after 9:15, we pulled into InterLogic’s parking lot, and Allison quickly headed inside. It was now my turn to go to work, and there was no way I was going to drive there. I left my car in the parking lot, hopped a taxi, and caught the SkyTrain. An hour later, I pulled into work.

Again, I repeat — it sucks when it snows here.

On the weekend, we travelled over to the Island to visit with family, most notably for Allison’s grandfather’s birthday. He turned the fresh young age of 80, and seemed quite happy to see his family all around him.

For the event, we went to The Grotto, a restaurant that was noted for great food. This much was true — the food was pretty decent. The management, however, was the worst I have ever had the displeasure to experience. They didn’t seem to understand the concept of “customer satisfaction”.

Allison’s aunt made a reservation at the restaurant a month or so in advance (it was, after all, the day before Valentine’s). She wanted to make sure that we would have seating for all 14 of us. Funny how they didn’t have 14 menus set aside…

That was the first problem. It took 20 minutes to round up 14 menus. But it got worse. It took 30 minutes to get six appetizers. Six. Not 14, six. Something doesn’t add up there. Letting that slide, we had to wait another 30 minutes for our meals, and even then — we only got half of them. Moreover, the guest of honour (Grandpa Vailmont) was served last! Even a special order we had placed a day earlier (steamed vegetables for Grandma Vailmont) when unfulfilled. It took another 10 minutes to receive the last of the meals.

Needless to say, there were several of us who were ticked off. Allison and I made a point of talking to the manager. The manager tried to claim that there were “too busy”, and deferred to whom we assume is her daughter (or possibly her granddaughter). Neither of them would apologise for the screw-ups, and in fact tried to blame the whole thing on us! How dare we bring so many people to their restaurant!

Ten minutes later, Allison and I walked out with a $40 gift certificate, and a promise that we’d never go back — we never even got an apology. We didn’t want the gift certificate — we wanted to hear: “We’re sorry”.

At lunch today, I met with my cousins, Pam and Darren. Darren works here in Vancouver, but tends to travel from Peru to the Arctic on a semi-regular basis (ah, the joys of being a globetrotting geologist). Pam works for Petro-Canada in Calgary, but had come out for a visit. We spent a rather long (and very pleasant) lunch at the Yaletown Brewery.

That’s about all there is from this neck of the woods for now. The rain has stopped, but the winds are still blowing. (Lousy La Nina!) Hopefully spring will start soon.