Be careful what you wish for…

…because you might just get it.

I wished for Mr E Man to get a job, after a couple of months in which the local movie industry was as quiet as Stephen Harper’s conscience and two non-movie job offers both fell through amid a confusing haze of vague job descriptions, constantly pushed-back start-dates, and – ultimately – unreturned phone calls.

I wished for some time to myself after a combination of Mr E Man’s unemployment, a new job, and my parents’ visit completely disrupted my pre-work, work, and post-work routines, respectively, for a couple of months and I never had the house to myself for more than a few minutes at a time.

Well, the local transit authority must have taken over the movie industry, because three job offers came along at once. Two were for TV shows (which pay less than movies) that weren’t starting for another couple of weeks, would only last two or three weeks each, and were likely to feature five short days of work per week. The third was for a movie at the full feature rate of pay, oodles of long day and weekend overtime, for at least four weeks…

…in Montreal.

(There’s also free accommodation in a rather nice hotel with two swimming pools, and a very generous per diem payment that more than covers all the food and drink crew members could possibly hope to have time to consume during the approximately 3.5 waking hours per week in which they will not be working. But still – Montreal. Booooo).

He found out about the job last Thursday, and was on a plane first thing Monday morning. On Tuesday he started to hear rumours about the job lasting more like six weeks than four – or possibly even longer.

This is not quite what I had in mind.

Ah well, it could be worse. Last time he worked away from home for four weeks it was worse in many ways: no kittehs to keep me company, no Skype, a smaller group of friends (because I hadn’t been here as long), no online blog / Twitter community to chat with, and we were living in a baking hot apartment that was simply miserable to be in during the summer*. There was one long weekend where literally every single local friend was out of town on non-crashable family or romantic trips, I had horrible menstrual cramps, and just sat hunched up on the sofa in front of the fan and chugging ibuprofen for three days, feeling like the world’s biggest loser. This time will definitely not be anywhere near as bad as that.

On the other hand, Mr E Man is more than 3,600 km and four hours flight time further away than he was last time, when I visited him in Victoria for a weekend and he came back to Vancouver for one night (his friend’s wedding). I was just in Montreal myself, and it’s a hell of a long way to go for a short visit – Canada is HUGE and Montreal is almost the full width of the country away from Vancouver. When the job was going to be four weeks long, I wasn’t planning to visit at all; however, a six week stint would mean being apart from Mr E Man on our anniversary and his birthday for the second year in a row**. I did have some good news on this front today: I’d originally thought that, as a new employee, I couldn’t take any vacation days for my first few months, but it turns out that this doesn’t apply to people like me who’ve transferred in from other departments within the same institution. Vacation time is accrued in some weird kind of back-dated way such that you don’t accrue any time off for your first few months, but there’s no restriction on when you can take your days off if you actually have some available, which I do. (This is why you ask HR instead of just relying on everyone’s assumptions). So I might head out there for an extra-long weekend if the job gets extended past four weeks…

…which we would probably find out about on the final day of the fourth week.

I’ve been with Mr E Man for almost ten years, and I still can’t get used to how the movie industry works. Boom and bust, weeks and weeks of no jobs followed by multiple offers of 13-hours-a-day-six-days-a-week frenzies, vague predictions of shows starting “some time in the next few weeks” that then get pushed back multiple times followed by panicked phone calls asking if you can start tomorrow… it’s even more chaotic than academia during grant season.

Oh well. It’s not so bad. As always during the first week of solitude, I’m quite enjoying the me-time – not to mention being back in my usual pre-work routine of listening to podcasts instead of watching the stupid local TV news channel Mr E Man prefers, talking to the cats without ridicule, and dancing to cheesy music while I get ready for work. I’ve been out after work once this week already, and have a few other fun times with friends planned for this weekend and beyond. As soon as I get used to sleeping sans snoring again (right now, in the absence of the usual in-room noise, it feels like I can hear every single sound anyone makes within a four block radius, so it takes me ages to get to sleep), and assuming I can arrange fun times for every Saturday night (at a minimum), I should be all set.

This movie‘d better be good, though!


*It had massive ceiling skylights that let in ALL THE SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME but no air, was too close to the ground in too dodgy an area to leave the other windows open while we weren’t home, and was directly above the ovens of the pizza restaurant on the ground floor. Great in winter – we barely spent any money on heating – but MISERABLE for a few weeks every summer (no-one has air conditioning in Vancouver because you really do only need it for a few days a year. Assuming, that is, that you live in a normal dwelling as opposed to a skylit pizza oven). We ran the fan on maximum speed pointing directly at the bed all night, kept a spray bottle of water by the bed to spray ourselves with every hour or so, and still couldn’t sleep. We ate breakfast and dinner in a nearby park every day, and spent as little time in the flat as humanly possible.

**Last year he was on his way to and then at Burning Man. I originally told Mr E Man that if he missed our anniversary again I would start adopting an additional cat every day until he returns. But 16 cats is a few too many, even for me.

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
This entry was posted in first world problems, furry friends, personal, rants, whining. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Be careful what you wish for…

  1. wow that is a long time! you are free to come hang out with my demo spawn 🙂 we’re taking up kayaking so we’re usually out on a lake on the W/E.

  2. steffi suhr says:

    Nice description of the suckiness of spouses being away – I can relate.. (I know, I need to fix the formatting in those posts.)

    Our life just got even crazier a few months ago: besides going away every two or three months, my husband has been telecommuting full-time between the UK… and Colorado.

  3. Frank says:

    So we can expect a bit of a flood of posts on here in the next few weeks?

    You could always watch some of the Olympics … opening ceremony tonight sounds like it will be good.

  4. Eva says:

    Yay for vacation days, though!

    Maybe Mr E Man should start a blog while he’s there and call it “literally behind the scenes”. Probably not allowed to actually write about anything he’s working on, though.

  5. Alyssa says:

    That’s a long time! Sounds like this time will be much better than last though – the picture you painted of the long weekend with no one around was heartbreaking yet funny (only because it’s in the past, and we can laugh at that, right?).

    Hope the time goes by quickly!

  6. chall says:

    aww… it’s always something that the first week you’ll revel in the “all to myself – looking at the house” and then you might look forward to that trip… I’m hoping for a long weekend for you two since it’s so romantic and nice 🙂

    And yes, the difference with cell phones and skype compared to only 10 years is making things very much easier imho. Nothing can compare to the hug after work, but it can come close. Lots of virtual hugs from here! Go Olympics!

  7. bean-mom says:

    Awww, sorry to hear he’ll be gone for so long, Cath. But yes, at least an anniversary weekend in Montreal will be romantic! (I visited years ago, and loved the place). My husband is gone this weekend; it’s only a few days, and so I can revel in the nights-to-myself-reading-and-surfing-the Net feeling (after kids are asleep) without guilt. Just for a few days, though. Actually, even after the first night it gets lonely.

    Hope the time passes quickly!

  8. cromercrox says:

    Roland Emmerich? It’ll be awful.

  9. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Thanks all!

    ScientistMother, demo spawn is a lovely typo! Where are you doing the kayaking?

    Steffi, that’s quite the commute!

    I think I’d prefer more frequent, but shorter, absences to really really long ones every few years. I think. The grass is always greener, right?!

    Frank, well, I’m not sure about a flood, but a bigger trickle for sure. I might even get back into the weekly bragging rights central habit!

    Unfortunately the time difference means I can’t watch the opening ceremony live, but I’m taping it for later. I will be watching a LOT of sport over the next few weeks – I love love love the Olympics!

    Eva, he does have some great work stories – but your guess about not being able to blog them is correct. They even tried to stop people from having camera phones on set, but soon realised that was impossible… but people have got into a LOT of trouble for posting photos of in-progress sets on Facebook and such.

    Alyssa, yeah, I can laugh about it now! It was a very unfortunate weekend, but well and truly in the past now

    Chall, the current plan is to wait until a few days before our anniversary to decide if I’m going to go. I don’t like it, but there’s no possible other way to know how long he’s going to be out there at this stage.

    It’s only seven years since the last four-week trip, and the technology advances are amazing! Mr E Man has even embraced the online world; he didn’t even have an email address last time, and barely knew how to text. But now we have skype, email, texts (I’ve sent him two photos of the cats already), and a couple of ongoing Words With Friends games, including messages via the in-game chat system. Hooray for living in the future!

    Bean-Mom, I love Montreal too. I’d like to go back, but preferably at a time when Mr E Man won’t be working most of the time I’m there! But beggars can’t be choosers

    CromerCrox, I’m hoping for the same kind of “so bad it’s good” schtick I’ve enjoyed in some of his past movies. That’s all we can usually hope for from movies Mr E Man works on – there are a couple of exceptions (X-Men 2 and 3, The Watchmen), but most of them look good but are otherwise terrible.

  10. Austin says:

    Agreed about the sheer scale of Canada. I never really grasped it until I agreed to to fly from DC to Edmonton for a long early September weekend (back in the late 90s when I was on Sabbatical) to do a research seminar. The DC-Toronto hop was a shortish commuter ride, full of lawyer types hammering away furiously on their laptops… but Toronto-Edmonton was a bit of an eye-opener, flying over all that flat plain in between. The temperature difference in the evenings was quite something, too.

  11. I’m not feeling quite so guilty about abandoning home for 8 days or so in October any more (Bangkok, in case you were wondering).

  12. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    UPDATE: I have booked 3 days off work so I can take a Friday – Tuesday weekend over our anniversary, which is on a Saturday. If Mr E Man is still in Montreal, I’ll go there; if he’s back, we’ll go camping somewhere local, or maybe just have a staycation.

    This decision was taken during a less-than-optimal first weekend alone that included the hose that feeds the top tank of the loo deciding to snap off, turning my bathroom into a fountain and sending water cascading down into the basement. Luckily both I and the downstairs tenant were home to shut off the fountain and mop up the several inches of water, and our friend who’s a plumber showed up a couple of hours later; he fixed the problem in about three minutes flat and refused all offers of cash and wine-based payments. After I’d cancelled my fun plans with friends, re-washed and dried all the towels in the house (which I’d just washed the day before), and reassured the terrified cats, I was like “SOD THIS, I AM GOING TO MONTREAL”.

    Austin, Toronto-Edmonton is “only” ~2,700 km. Vancouver-Montreal is ~3,750. So there :-p

    I remember Massimo describing the shock of boarding a plane in Havana (+30C) after a Christmas holiday, and getting off in Edmonton (-30C) a few hours later. Quite a shock to the system, and another reason to avoid Edmonton (sorry, Massimo!)

    Richard, 8 days is really an ideal length, at least for me – long enough to enjoy some time to yourself and *just* start to miss your spouse before they come back!

  13. Massimo says:

    Well, all I can say is, I was gone four months this Spring. I asked Anto to come with me but the thing is, we had planned for our home to be renovated during that time, and she did not want to leave the house to the contractors. I would have cancelled but I don’t do well living in a construction site; so, in the end we decided that I should best go…

  14. Pingback: All media can be social media | VWXYNot?

Comments are closed.