The Ghost of Walmart

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My sailor and I went to the mall on the weekend. Normally I have to twist his toned and muscular arm to get him near any shopping venue, but he needed to get some man stuff–duct tape and batteries–so he suggested the trip.

As usual when we go shopping together, I ditched him as soon I arrived in my happy place (the mall!) It’s not that I don’t enjoy our time together–he lurks.

He follows me from shop to shop, silently observing. He’s doesn’t judge or try to control my spending (although he has been known to exclaim, “Seriously? Another purse? How many do you need?”)

Nothing takes the fun out of shopping like a lurker…nothing except being on strike.

The stores were buzzing with back to school sales and school supplies–they were everywhere! I don’t know who’s buying them as there’s still no word on when we’ll be back in class. I haven’t bought my boy’s because a stack of unused supplies in a corner collecting dust and dog hair will just depress me.

Since school supply shopping was out I drifted to the clothing and shoe stores. Big mistake! After a summer in swingy little dresses, I’m ready for cozy sweaters and socks and boots–I love me some black leather riding boots!

But not having an income changes the shopping dynamic profoundly. I was like a TV ghost–I could see the shopping action but couldn’t participate in it because I’m not in the zone with the people who get paid. It was so unsettling, I stayed away from mirrors, half afraid I wouldn’t see a reflection.

I’m luckier than many because I know we’ll have food in our tummies and a roof over our Chihuahua no matter how long this drags on.

I believe in what we’re striking for and I support my union.

I’m taking a huge financial hit to stand up for quality public education for ALL kids, not just mine.

That actually feels better than another new purse.

Up a Tree Without a Paddle

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My sailor has lately discovered the joys of flying remote-controlled aircraft.

It was initially meant to be a hobby he could pursue with our boy. Unfortunately our boy cannot always be coerced into standing in a windy and/or rainy field with his dad. On those occasions, the position of second mate in our family’s remote-control flying corps falls on me.

Recently, I was on duty.

“I’ve been scouting the neighbourhood for a good field,” he announced as we headed off. “I found a perfect one. It’s huge, no one seems to use it in the evenings and there’s nothing for the plane to hit.”

“Super,” I said checking my email and Facebook status as we drove.

He parked and I looked up to see where he’d taken me. We were at the local high school.

“What did I tell you? It’s perfect!”

“It’s a school field,” I said.

He nodded.

“I don’t think I’m allowed on school property outside of school hours because of the lock out.”

(Our labour dispute has escalated to the point that we’re holding province-wide rotating strikes and the employer has imposed a partial lock out on teachers on the days we work. In order to justify docking 10% of our salary while getting 100% service, the employer has announced that we’re not permitted to interact with students at recess and lunch. We’re also not allowed to be at school prior to 45 minutes before the beginning of the day or 45 minutes after dismissal.)

His grin faded a bit. “You’re kidding, right?”

I shook my head. “I’m sorry, but someone might see me and I don’t know what would happen if I’m on school district property during the time I’ve been ordered to stay away.”

“Fine, I’ll try to fly by myself.”

I could tell he was disappointed, but he couldn’t have been too upset because he remembered to come back and roll down the windows for me a minute later. (He loves me!)

I watched through the wind shield, my mind wandering until I saw something that made me sit up and take notice–something that made me get out of the truck and run to the edge of the field to snap photos.

My sailor was up a tree! He’d crashed his plane in the branches and climbed up to release it. I had no idea he was so agile!

When he came back to the truck he commented on my interest in his climbing abilities. “You sure took lots of pictures of me in the tree.”

“I think I got some good shots.”

“Funny, but I didn’t hear you calling out to me to be careful.”

“Hmmm,” I thought for a moment. “I didn’t want to distract you?”