Flying home to Calgary

I woke earlier than usual — about 8:45 or so. Craig was still up, but not nearly as tired as when he’d scared the bejezesus out of me.

Turning down his offer of a beer (for Craig, this was still the end of the day), I got a glass of orange juice. Craig and I took the opportunity to have a chat about his career. I guess I forced the issue. I’m worried about him. I don’t know Craig as well as perhaps I could — he’d family, but aside from a few visits, I don’t know him even remotely as well as I should for a brother-in-law. For what I do know, though, Craig works too hard. I know the desire, though. I know what drives him, what pushes him forward. I had that drive once. It’s died off in recent months, mostly due to recognition of my own faults.

Nothing really came of the conversation, not that I thought anything would. I can only hope, though, that perhaps he’ll settle into a more regular schedule that will allow him to have some quality of life. At least more than he has now.

Mom arrived about 30 minutes after I called her to take me back to her place. I had to finish fixing her computer. Norton Security had to be removed because it was blocking functionality. I installed just Norton Anti-Virus instead, which seemed to cooperate significantly better than the full suite. It installed well, and everything seemed to work. With that in place, I started up the defragmentation program to help speed mom’s computer up.

By that time, Cathy had arrived at mom’s, off early from work, and the three of us went for lunch at Mexicali Rosa’s, one of a chain of Mexican-themed restaurants. Apparently, there were a couple of them in Ottawa, back in the day I used to live and work there. Cathy told me of them, but I honestly couldn’t remember any of them. Either way, I was in the mood for Mexican.

The food was good, but the sangria was lacking. In fact, I was a tad disappointed, especially since I’d raved about how good sangria was to Cathy. I’ll have to make an effort to find really good sangria out here, so that when Cathy and Craig come out here for our cousin Pam’s wedding in September, I’ll be able to show them something really tasty.

Following our lunch, we did a driving tour out to Port Credit. A few things had changed. A new strip mall complex at the corner of Southdown and Royal Windsor caught me by surprise. Even more surprising was the redevelopment of the St. Lawrence Starch grounds was extremely impressive, and certainly out of the range of most ordinary people. My mother couldn’t hope to afford one of them, although they are nice.

The defrag was still running when we got back. I can only assume because it hadn’t been run in a very long time. But I wouldn’t be able to see it finish, as I had to get to the airport. I had a flight back to Calgary to catch. I bade mom goodbye, and headed to Cathy’s house to collect my things.

I remembered why I don’t like Toronto traffic. On the way to the airport, I bore witness to the nastiest traffic jams on the westbound lanes of both the 403 and the 401, neither of which we were in. (Though Cathy would have to be heading in that direction after dropping me off.) I am so glad I walk to work, and drive as rarely as possible.

Things had changed at the airport. Terminal 1 is no more. In the redevelopment of the GTAA, and the construction of the new terminal, the old was swept away. It was there when I was in Oakville last October, but since then was torn down. Soon, Terminal 2 will follow suit, and only the new terminals will remain.

As I sat waiting for my flight to board, an announcement came over the PA. Apparently, there was a weather advisory for Calgary. There was a chance that we might not arrive in Calgary — we could get diverted to Kelowna.

I didn’t see this as a particularly bad thing. At the very least, I’d get a good story out of it. Besides, I had relatives there that I could call upon if I were really stuck in a bind. But I also figured that because Calgary’s weather literally changes in a matter of minutes, the odds of me not making it to Calgary were fairly slim.

End result: the flight was about half-full. I had a row to myself. We got snack bags two at a time. (We were flying WestJet, which means no meals. Not that I mind — a nice ham and swiss from Tim Horton’s fills the void quite well.) Aside from the three French guys in front of me (who seemed barely out of their teens, despite being well into their 30s), I had a very pleasant flight.

Except for landing in Calgary. As we approached for landing, I had glanced out the window to see where we were. I saw what I thought was the sun setting far off in the distance (though it seemed far too late for that), or perhaps the moon in an odd position. In reality, it was the lights of Calgary shining through the fog that seemed to hug the ground.

I suppose that as we decended through the clouds, I should have been a little frightened. Flying by instrumentation is fine, but visions of Die Hard 2 kept coming to mind. The last thing I really needed was to slam into the ground at far too fast a rate of decent. I didn’t think about it too much, though. Aside from a harder-than-usual landing, the approach wasn’t really that bad — even if the clarity at ground level couldn’t have been more than the height of the air traffic control tower.

As I arrived home, I realized that I felt relaxed. There’s a certain clarity that comes with a vacation, even one as busy as the one I’d just had. I actually felt good about my time off. Perhaps I’ve been a little too critical of work lately. Maybe things aren’t as bad as I think they are. I know I’ve overcomplicated my life as of late, so maybe it’s something I need to work on.

Who says New Years resolutions have to happen at New Years?