From Where I Sit – Next Break

This column is coming to you from downtown Red Deer, Alberta. Yet again, I’ve packed up my laptop and some files so I could work in a hotel room while Roy attends a senior’s housing association conference. Deciding what to bring is always a challenge, but I’m getting better at doing that without bringing the kitchen sink.

I make sure to bring good food because eating in restaurants is both expensive and not great for your health. Fruit, yogurt, veggies, and nuts are as important to a successful, multi-day hotel stay as a phone charger, good book, and change of shoes. Monday night will be banquet and entertainment night. I haven’t been disappointed by either in many years, so bring them on.

Doing contract work makes working from virtually anywhere possible. I’m not punching a time clock in a workplace. The miracle of technology makes it almost as easy to work from the Sheraton as from a renovated bedroom on our farm. In some ways, even easier because of fewer distractions. I’m not responsible for the dishes or laundry here. Though sometimes the desk setup leaves something to be desired. Even in the chair’s top position I’m too short for the desk. A little side table and an ottoman fit better for this 5’ 3″ body. I hope the damage hasn’t already been done as I forced myself to work through discomfort. When will I learn?

I’ll always have a soft spot for Red Deer and this hotel (formerly The Capri). In 1994 I was appointed to one of Ralph Klein’s seventeen health authorities. Hundreds of us gathered at The Capri for our orientation. I remember being awed by the enormity of the challenge ahead. I wasn’t yet discouraged or jaded. I believed we could make a difference. The hotel seemed grand and well designed. A small town feel but with the amenities most would expect and demand.

The hotel has been renovated and has kept pace with what visitors want, including free Wi-Fi, fridge, coffee bar, and microwave. Red Deer is a lot bigger than it was twenty-two years ago. Yet it’s still easy to navigate the core areas, many within blocks of the hotel. Us farm kids loath looking for and paying for parking, so free and easy parking wins brownie points, every time.

You’ll be relieved to know that Roy and I did contribute to the local economy with some power shopping as the Bower Mall was about to close on Sunday evening. If I get a big chunk of work done, I intend to scope out a couple bookstores before we leave on Wednesday. See the maturity there. Work first, play later. Do the hard thing first, before you get the reward.

If only I could do that with Words with Friends. I’ve gotten re-hooked. After not playing for months, I discovered the Fast Game and Solo Play options. Now I’ve got three games going at once and a whole list of new words to use (during my next break!), from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.

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