March 31, 2012

Saturday… what to do, what to do?

Saturdays for me now, are a bit different than in days gone by.  I’ve been through the times when a Saturday was a day off.  As a kid, it meant basically spending the day at McMahon Park in London.  If it was a nice summer day, we’d spend the day at the pool.  Mornings were for swimming and diving lessons, and the afternoon was spent lazing around the pool with friends.

During summer vacations, McMahon Park would have a summer program of sorts.  Almost like a summer camp.  The park leaders would have activities and games for the kids to do.  As I’m writing this, I’m getting vague images of some of the things we used to do.

It was a long time ago, and those memories are very sketchy at best.  I can remember a few things like, a carnival of sorts, playing baseball, making wallets (?)…  the ravages of time are catching up to me!  Later on, Saturday was spent helping my parents in the store in Granton.  Restocking shelves, waiting for deliveries from Lewis Bread (when we would get little goodies from the delivery man), playing the Atari game…  hmmm…

My first full-time job, I would occasionally spend Saturday helping to deliver packages to our customers.  Normally, Saturday would be the trip through Middlesex and Huron counties.  A couple of our stops were in Brussels and Listowel, where I got to see my relatives, even though the stops were not for very long.

During my years in Ottawa, Saturdays were spent bike riding, visiting with friends, and getting ready to go the bar at night.  For a short period of time, I actually worked in a bar on Saturdays.  Other times were day trips to Montreal and the ensuing evening party times.  My, my, how life has changed!

Anyway, then came my casino years.  The final years of living in Ottawa.  I was working on weekends with a charity casino.  I rose in ranks from a dealer to, at times, casino manager and everything in between.  I made great friends, who, unfortunately, have fallen out of touch over the past 15 or so years.  However, I can still remember Saturdays quite well.  Arrive at the casino in the morning, with a dozen or two Tim Horton doughnuts, a HUGE cup of coffee, and the entire day watching and talking to fellow dealers and customers.

In Windsor, Saturdays were a day off of sorts.  Not much to do.  We lived in Windsor for a year or so, before heading to New Westminster, BC.  Then, Saturdays were spent riding the transit system around the greater Vancouver area.  Riding the train around the area, and at one time, heading to Vancouver Island, were especially memorable.  We never made it to Victoria, but then again, I was only in Vancouver for 2 years.

Then came Taiwan.  In the beginning years, Saturdays were a bit different.  As the only transportation I had here was a bicycle and foot power, my travels were rather limited.  A couple of hours in the morning were spent in a teachers’ meeting.  As all the meeting was in Chinese, I felt a little alienated.  Only one teacher could speak English, and her English was not that great.  Anytime I was asked for suggestions, they were immediately dismissed.  When asked about my opinion on something, I was then told that my ideas were not being considered.  I could hardly wait to get out of these ‘mandatory’, unpaid meeting times.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mind attending meetings, but when everything I say or suggest or give an opinion on are always dismissed, one gets a bit frustrated.  It wasn’t long before I left that little burb and came to Tainan.

The beginning times in Tainan, Saturdays (and Sundays) became a day off.  No classes.  Over time though, I was asked to tutor students, and the only available times were the weekends.  My Saturdays then became my busiest days for classes.  All private students.  For a couple of years, I had students coming to my home, as it was easier for them to come to me, than for me to travel between each of them.

Now, Saturdays are a bit different.  It is a morning that I can sleep in.  Right.  With six cats, sleeping in means I can sleep until about 7:15 when the alarm goes off.  Like Pavlov’s dog, these cats know that when that alarm sounds, it is breakfast time.  They all wake up, start walking around the bed, walking on top of me, getting into minor scuffles with each other… anything to wake me up!  I may not hear the alarm, but I sure feel them!

Of late, after waking up, Saturday is kind of split into two parts.  The morning, where I get to laze around in my bathrobe, finishing up any lesson plans, having my coffee, watching ‘t.v.’ on my computer, and just generally waking up.  After lunchtime, I have a private class, and then I have the rest of the afternoon and evening to myself.

In past years, these free times would be spent traveling around Tainan county or even Kaohsiung county.  Hop on the scooter, start driving with no particular destination in mind.  Just go.  Enjoy the day.  Now, from mid-afternoon Saturday until mid-afternoon Monday, I am using to renovate the apartments.  Yes, I do go to bed, but the couple of days gives me the opportunity to get a lot of this work done.  As I don’t have a lot of time through the week, then any painting or wall treatments I do over the weekend, allows these treatments to dry or set, ready for the next weekend.

Long gone are the days (or nights) of partying to the wee hours.  Maybe its due in part to my getting older.  I’ve grown up, so-to-speak.  I enjoy my alone time.  I do also enjoy company over, but they know that if they come over now, I will put a paintbrush in their hands!

So, today being Saturday, I have a couple of hours before my class.  After class, when I get home, it will be time to change into my crap clothes, and finish tearing off wallpaper that surrounded the apartment. Perhaps, if I have enough time, I may even do a bit of painting – we’ll see.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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