If there’s a constant that cuts across campaigns this New Hampshire Primary season, it’s Eventbrite: almost all of the candidates — except Hillary Clinton, who runs her own service — are using it to distribute advance tickets for their events. When I was here in 2004 there was nothing like this: you just showed up.
Ever since brother Johnny decamped to the west coast last July, I’ve been all alone in the Reinventorium. Sure the folks next door at The Guild are always ready with a cheery “hello,” and I have Anne and her new beau Gilbert to keep me company in the summer, but otherwise it’s a lonely one-man shop.
“Office culture,” such as it might be, is restricted to those special days when I remember that I should drink a glass of water and have a stretch mid-afternoon.
In this light, my occasional visits to my remote telecolleagues here at Yankee are an extra-special opportunity to have real coworkers for a change, complete with birthday celebrations, water cooler chats about Super Bowl commercials, and lunches at the local general store. I also benefit from access to the company Keurig coffee machine, and from access to the secret company snack bar.
It took me years to learn about the secret company snack bar.
Not that it’s really a secret, as the price list is clearly posted on the front desk of the company nerve centre. But I wasn’t completely sure that I was allowed to be a patron. Until I eventually realized that realizing you are allowed is the mindset that brings access with it.
And so, once or twice a visit, when lunch was too long ago and supper too far in the future, I’ll pop down from my perch in the crow’s nest to visit the always-friendly-and-helpful Linda — you’ll hear her voice if you ever call Yankee on the phone — for a quick bite. The prices at the secret snack bar are enormously reasonable: a bag of potato chips, for example, is 35 cents. As is a bag of animal crackers. Cookies and granola bars are 40 cents. Chocolate bars are 55 cents, a price they haven’t sold for elsewhere since the 1990s.
By dint of my role with the PEI Home and School Federation, I’ve become a member of the PEI Learning Partners Advisory Council, a new body conjured by Premier MacLauchlan to provide counsel on all matters of learning.
The first meeting of the Council is this week, and I’ll be away in New Hampshire so I’ll not be there. As the subject of the first meeting is for the members to get to know each other and to set broad priorities, I offered to make a video-of-introduction and my offer was accepted. I started off thinking this would be a simple talking-head video of me introducing myself, but as I started down that path it seemed much too boring, and so I went in another direction. And thus I ended up with this:
My imaginative son Oliver, on seeing this, and after several weeks of working on an ArtSmarts project where he and his classmates were tasked with taking a similar sort of personal inventory, spent the morning yesterday making his own video-of-introduction. I love his video much more than mine and I suspect that he was a lot more successful at capturing his true self.
I’m New Hampshire-bound this afternoon, flying down through Boston to spend a week with my longtime colleagues at Yankee Publishing in Dublin.
I’ve been visiting Dublin for 20 years, 3 or 4 times a year.
In 2003 I started creating an email folder containing all the travel-related emails for each trip; there are 34 of them now, and this trip will be number 35. With the trips that happened between 1996 and 2003 I suspect I’m coming up on 50 trips south.
Most of those trips have been by myself, but sometimes they were with my brother Johnny, and, especially in the early days, in the summer, they were with Catherine and, later, with Oliver too. We once spent a week in Dublin, NH and then drove to Boston and got on a plane and landed, the next morning, in Dublin, Ireland.
I’ve been working remotely with Yankee for so long that it’s second-nature now; these occasional visits are an important part of why we work so well together. It’s important to put faces to new names at the company. And it’s important to sit around a real, physical table with folks I otherwise only see on the other end of a weekly Skype conference call.
It’s also important to go out to lunch and supper together, so that we can remind ourselves that, outside of work, we have other lives and interests. It helps to make us whole people to each other.
So this afternoon I’ll get on Air Canada 7753 from Charlottetown to Halifax, then, an hour later, Air Canada 8895 from Halifax to Boston. When I land in Boston I’ll pick up a car from Hertz and drive the 90 minutes north – along Route 93, Route 95, Route 3 and Route 101 – to the Jack Daniels Motor Inn in Peterborough, NH a place I’ve been staying for years and years and years.
As a special bonus, I’ll be in New Hampshire for Primary Day on Tuesday, as I was 12 years ago, and I plan to take in a variety of campaign rallies on Tuesday night in Nashua and Manchester; I’ll report in to Island Morning with a post-Primary review on Wednesday morning.
These days the bulk of my personal satisfaction in life comes from success at roof raking.
Last night, during a storm that dumped 50 cm of snow on the city, I made two trips out, followed by a more complete rake this morning. The result, with the cooperation of the bright sun today, is a good metre of bare roof on the front, and very little, if any, ice damming. Success!
Tomorrow I fly away for a week in New Hampshire and Ontario and I have to rely on the good graces of others to keep the roof clear in my absence.
On tonight’s edition of CBC Compass there was a story by Laura Meader on Oliver and Ethan.
Thanks to Laura, and to Dave Campbell (one of Oliver’s educational assistants) and Frances Squire (his homeroom teacher) for helping to tell their story.
And to Oliver and Ethan for putting up with all the “could you scratch his head a little more to the right” stage directions (a teachable moment in its own right: Oliver learned that news is storytelling, and is partly real real and partly simulated real).
With the new synergized CBC, it was wall to wall Ethan and Oliver today: in addition to Compass, a version of the story aired on Island Morning on the radio, another version on the local news, and yet another on the CBC website. We need to go into seclusion now.