Isn’t it time for fire season to be over yet? I mean, come on! It’s September!
Truly, what affects me in the city are just minor annoyances (although see below for how they totally messed up my plans yesterday), but I feel for the people where the fires have been burning. 2018 is now the worst fire season on record in British Columbia, with more than 13,000 square kilometres (5,000 square miles) burned to date. Donations to help the families impacted by the fires will be matched for the next month by the BC government up to $20 million CAD.
The air quality isn’t too bad here in the city, but the lingering haze of smoke does obscure the view. At least it makes for some pretty and almost mystical pictures.
So, now about yesterday. I woke up really pleased that it wasn’t raining and we wouldn’t have to cancel our annual end-of-summer barbecue at the city park across from the office. (For some odd reason, my introverted self is the chair of the social committee.) I was also glad that the interlopers who had set themselves up in our pre-booked picnic area left peacefully with the mild encouragement of my colleague. I had apparently relaxed prematurely, though.
An hour and a half before the event, I was over at the park taking delivery of the massive propane barbecue we had ordered. As soon as the delivery guys got the thing lit and burning, two burly park workers appeared and said, “You can’t do that here! Don’t you know there’s a fire ban?”
Well, actually, no! We didn’t! We had booked the picnic site with the city and they knew that, as usual, we would be using a propane barbecue. Why didn’t anyone tell us that the park was now off-limits for barbecues due to extreme fire danger? The workers called the city office and they confirmed that we would be fined $1,400 if we used it, so back it went onto the truck, with us out-of-pocket several hundred dollars for the rental. (Really, the delivery guys were mystified, saying that it was in a safe spot and that they have set the units up there all the time.)
We had 160 hungry people coming for burgers and hot dogs (halal meat, which had all been purchased the day before) and no way to cook the meat! I had to do some quick thinking and get on the phone to see if someone could find some halal sandwich meat and then call the other people who were buying the rest of the supplies. They had carts full of groceries, including the burger and hot dog buns, and were at that moment standing in the check-out line ready to pay! They had to backtrack and change all the barbecue fixings for sandwich fixings. Back and forth we went as we tried to source the right meat and figure out what and how much of everything else we needed. Meanwhile, a crisis at the office meant that I was also on the phone dealing with that! I tell you, I felt like Fred Flintstone in the clip below:
We cleared out the little shop of all the halal sandwich meat they had — sliced turkey and beef salami, which turned out to be really good. While these were being put on the tables, the hungry people began to turn up, letting me know politely that they had skipped lunch expecting lots of food and why was that all there was? I had to reassure them that the other shoppers were on their way with a van-load of food! They had managed to get some great ciabatta buns and fixings at the supermarket, along with extra salads, chips, veggies, and desserts.
A few people not on the social committee did offer to help, but it really amazed me to see a hundred people all just standing there talking and watching us while we “caterers” set up the spread! Oh well.
In the end, a good time was had by all (except maybe the little boy who couldn’t seem to understand why there was no barbecue when we said there would be one). Now all I have to figure out is what to do with the 240 frozen burgers and hot dogs. Meat draw, maybe?
I was so exhausted by the time we finished cleaning it all up that all I wanted to do was go home and sleep. No such luck, though. Instead, I got myself some coffee on my way home, pepped myself up, and got in the car to take my son to his first hockey scrimmage of the season. It was a long day, and I didn’t get home until nearly 10:30, with the effects of the coffee all worn off.
Where’s a hug like this when you need it?