Saturday, March 15, 2008


Coming from Canada to Auz isn't the transition it might be from other parts of the world. We're both big nations with lots of nearly uninhabitable land. We're both ex-British colonies with all the Queen still on the money and our beers are better than the American's. I've found it different enough here to be interesting and the same enough to be comfortable, a rather pleasant situation indeed.

I'm at a point in my life were I have to make some decisions. I spent the last 20 or so years managing a used book store. It was a dead end job but I was good at it and I enjoyed it a lot of the time. But when I told my boss that I was going to take a year off with the LUC to be there in the first year of little Em's life it was obvious he was glad I was going. And that as they say, was that.

I spent that summer being the full-time mechanic for the Edmonton Bike Commuters helping people fix their bikes. It was great. I loved working with my hands and teaching people, empowering them even. It was immensely satisfying. I would be happy doing that for at least a few years but of course moving to Australia is going to make that impossible. Besides, the LUC's earning potential as an engineer is much greater than mine so it looks like I'm going to be playing Mr. Mum for the next few years. I'm more ok with that now that I've met our daughter than I was previously. I've called myself a feminist in the past and agreed that raising a child is a job of equal or greater worth as any other. Now it's time to put up or shut up.

I have a notion for fixing up old bikes between nappy changes and selling them to make a little cash. I took the repair course from Barnett's Bicycle Institute last fall so I'm pretty confident about my repair skills. I've also got some ideas that would make these bikes more enticing to people than old bikes usually are. We'll have to see. It'll be a while before Em's independent enough to allow me much time to work.

The LUC and I have talked about setting up an alternative transport consulting business. She's a transportation engineer specializing in bikes, peds and whatnot. As much as I enjoyed teaching I'm not sure I bring enough to that party to be useful.

We've also talked about opening a bike store. One that specializes in commuter and lifestyle cycling. Really, it's the obvious thing to do with my experience in retail. I'm hot and cold on this idea. Small retail is a stressful way to earn a living and I've never met a bike store owner that I'd call happy. Mind you, I've only met them in their store with me in the role of customer, not exactly a situation that promotes easy confidences.

We return to Canada in June either to pick up where we left off or to pack up and move to Auz. It's looking 95% likely that we'll move. I'm really hoping to see my future clearly before then. Right now it's all a jumbled blur, the possibilities overlap and shift and I'm not at my best with these sorts of choices. I suffer from the delusion that there's a right choice, and only one right choice. All the others are traps loaded with poisonous spiders and rabid dingos. Much as I'd like to just close my eyes and leap I'm going to agonize and fret until fatigued and dehydrated I fall into the next phase of my working life.

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