Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Finally Over!

So the strike by Toronto's civic employees has ended this week. That means that my husband, who is in Management with Water Supply, can finally come home. He's been locked in at work for 36 days, with only a few days off during that time. Thirteen people were doing the work of sixty. They lived and worked together, occasionally having personality conflicts, as managers who were accustomed to giving orders, had to take them instead. A case of 'too many chiefs, and not enough Indians'.
He said it felt like jail, with occasional day passes, and all they thought about was 'what's for dinner today?' and 'what movie is on tonight?' They were getting quite discouraged as they saw their summer slipping away from them. All vacation was cancelled and many important events were missed.
Our daughters only saw him a few times, and our household projects and social activities were all put on hold. When he'd come home for just a few hours, he only had time to do laundry and run a few errands, and then he'd have to return, reluctantly, to the air mattress in his office.
I don't think people in Toronto understand or appreciate the sacrifice made by these men and women, and their families, in order for them to continue to be supplied with water.
Water supply has long wanted to disassociate themselves from the Garbage collectors, who always seem ready and willing to go on strike. The reason the garbage collectors don't mind a strike is that even though they have to live on $200/week strike pay, afterwards, they make it all back in overtime when they clean up the accumulated garbage. Water Supply is different. There's no extra water being pumped after a strike. It's been there all along.
There are some benefits to this enforced separation, though. My husband and I definitely appreciate each other more. He missed two weeks of vacation with me and our anniversary trip to Kingston. I went anyway, and a friend and my Mom came with me. I also learned to be more independent with driving to Kingston, and to a provincial park to take my daughter on a youth camping trip. I also bought my first cell phone, which I used in Kingston. It's like a new toy, and I've been texting more than talking because it has a full keyboard.
Another benefit was that, while at work, my husband worked out with weights 3X/day and walked about 4-5 km/day. The result has met with my approval.
Also, I was able to get well underway with my diet without having to worry about cooking for everyone. This has resulted in the loss of 10 pounds, and 10 inches, which has met with my husband's approval.
Lastly, even though he doesn't usually get overtime pay since he's in Management, they did pay portions of the day and stand-by at a higher rate, so we are expecting a large cheque soon, which is just in time for our daughter's university tuition costs.
So, even though I wouldn't ever want to go through this again, it hasn't been all bad. There are blessings to be found, if you look.

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