Rumblings, Ruminations, and Retrospectives

Musings from the mind of the Beast.

By

Sitting Around The Campfire, Telling Ghost Stories…

… as requested by a Twitter follower.

I used to work for the local phone company. Except, like most providers these days, they’re so much more than a “phone” company – also providing cable TV and internet services.

I worked in an arm of the company focused on I.T. and providing web hosting, email, and server hosting to end clients. We worked downtown, in an older part of the city called The Exchange District. The area is full of old buildings and some pretty nice architecture.

My job regularly required us to work a lot of overtime, as business couldn’t afford to take outages during the day. We instituted an overnight shift and that required us to be on-site, downtown, and after hours.

One of my co-workers was on the night shift, and when we came in for the day shift, he was kind of odd. He’s a hell of a nice guy, but I’ve never seen him so happy to see humans before in my life. He was sitting in his cubicle, a cricket bat (brought in as a decoration by another co-worker) at the ready.

“Cheesie (our nickname for him), what’s with the cricket bat?”

And so he told us the story.

As he was working over night, sitting in his cubicle, he wasn’t sure what was going on but as he sat there, he said he had a moment where he heard the ringing, jingling sound of metal banging together, like keys being shuffled. Except that it wasn’t like someone shaking a key chain, it was rythmic, like someone was walking with keys attached to their belt and the ring of keys was bouncing off their hip as they walked.

Ka-chink. Ka-chink. Ka-chink. Ka-chink. Ka-chink.

The sound was close at first, but then it slowly got quiter, as if the person was walking away. Only thing is, it was 2:30 in the morning and no one else was in the office.

Cheesie grabbed the cricket bat, and started walking around the office, checking to see if anyone was there, or if someone was playing tricks on him. As he was walking around, he heard the main door open and shut, and then the sound of the keys was gone. Cheesie completed his circuit of the office, but he couldn’t find anyone. Nothing was disturbed. He got to the door and checked the lobby, but no one was there. He pushed the elevator button, but it was still on our floor.

There was nobody there.

As he’s telling this story, some of us are givig him the gears, not believing him. Some of us were freaking out, and others were leaning in closer to hear more. The only possible explanation – as much as we did or didn’t want to hear it – was a ghost. Nothing else could add up. There’s no way it could have been a person playing tricks – the office is big enough that if someone was just walking around jingling keys, they would have been spotted in an instant.

But how was it possible?

Our team began a “man hunt”, looking for any way this could be explained. We started looking up local legends, as Winnipeg apparently has a history of ghosts and such.

As it turns out, there is a local legend that states the building we worked in – dating back to the late 1800’s – was a former warehouse. We knew this to be true, we saw the building as it was being renovated in prep for our group moving into the building. The upper floors were the warehouse and storage areas, while the first two floors were the retail and office areas. The legend has it that one of the employees – a man that did a lot woodworking and assembly – had died in an accident with some machinery, and that his ghost continues to walk through the building.

So then it became my turn to work the night shift. The shifts were a week long at a time. I was freaked out. I didn’t want to have a run in with a ghost. I was literally scared the entire time I was there. I had the cricket bat at my desk just in case.

Monday night, everything went well, no ghosts. Tuesday was the same. Wednesday night there was no action, but by this time, I’m super stressed, I’m not getting anything done. Not a fun time.

Thursday night comes along, and things are going well a few hours into the shift. But I’m on high alert, and at 2:00 AM I thought I heard some noises. Banging, like someone had dropped something heavy. I quickly grab the cricket bat and look aroud, but there’s nothing to see. I couldn’t find anything.

I go back to work, and a half hour later at 2:30 AM, there it is.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

I grab the cricket bat and whirl around. No one is there.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

I get up and start walking around the office, but I don’t see a thing. No one is there.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

I follow the sound to the far end of the office, but just before I get there…

THUNK.

The outside door to the lobby closes.

BUT I NEVER HEARD IT OPEN.

More banging.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

Banging.

Ka-chink.

Ka-chink.

THERE IS NO ONE THERE.

I blow through the door and check the stairwell. Nothing. Check the elevator. It’s still on my floor, so no one has used it to go back downstairs.

THEN…

I hear what sounds like two women GIGGLING coming from the vents above me. From the VENTS. Thing is, the floor above us is not occupied. No one is there. There’s ghosts fucking playing with me!

Then, it all goes quiet. Not a peep. no banging, no keys, no doors, no giggling. Nothing.

So now I have to go back to my desk and sit there for another five and a half hours, trying not to shit myself.

I think I’ve just started believing in ghosts!

By

Walking A Mile…

First of all, apologies for not blogging so much lately. There’s been a ton of stuff going on, both personally and professionally, and I’ve found myself busy/exhausted/stressed/not caring/excited and running the gamut of emotions that goes along with all of that.

But, I think we’re back on solid ground here so I’m going to attempt to get this thing back on track. I suppose I’m well overdue with this particular entry.

On January 16th a good friend and co-worker, Ron Peterson, tragically passed away after suffering a brain anuerysm while exercising. At the time, I was on the Web team where I’d been for nearly 7 years. Ron was Team Lead of the Intel team, but prior to that he was actually my leader as he used to lead the Web team as well.

He and I got along really well; we both thought the same way about the workings of things, had a lot of the same ideas, we vented to each other, and Ron was a very big supporter of mine with management. He was always pulling me aside and asking/giving advice, talking about future plans, and ensuring I was doing what I needed to be doing to be in the good books with management and in line for promotions, etc. He was like my big brother around the office, always looking out for me.

Ron made me the Technical Lead for the Web team. That meant I got to do a lot more work for no more pay, but it introduced me to leadership where he taught me everything I know now about being a leader. He gave me the freedom to get things done on that team as I saw fit. Ron gave me the confidence to become a leader, backed me up when I was right and corrected me when I was wrong – yet supported me at the same time.

Ron’s passing left a huge hole on the Intel team without his leadership – shoes that no one could ever expect to fill, because Ron was, well… Ron. You can’t replace him. Ever. Besides his leadership and technical knowledge, Ron was a funny guy, fiercely loyal, and ever-omnipresent. Even though he sat almost all the way across the room, he’d call you on the phone and you could hear him both through the headset and in real-time over the air – Ron was always in stereo. He loved hanging out with his team, telling stories, and having a good time – even though he was a leader, he never felt above anyone else. He was a great family man and worked tirelessly for charitable organzizations.

I could go on and on about him, but suffice to say Ron was an excellent leader and an amazing human being. We all miss him very much.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be selected as Ron’s successor (again, never a replacement) to lead the Intel team. I write this blog post because I find it to be an incredible and amazing circle of fate that after all Ron did for me, I now sit at his desk, in his role, doing his work, and leading his team. It’s exactly what he would have wanted.

I just wish he was here to see it.

By

Changes keep a comin’!

It’s been awhile, but I’m baaaaaaaack!

And we thought 2006 was the year for change…. hehehehe…

2007 hasn’t started any slower. We’re a month in, and already lots of changes are coming.

Everyone’s New Year’s Resolution – ok, well, not everyone, but for a lot of people – is to lose some weight. That’s something that Stephanie and I are trying to do. A couple weeks into our program, I think we’re doing ok – Stephanie much better than I – but we’re plugging along. I don’t think we’re about losing X number of pounds in Y amount of time, but rather, making some changes so that we’re eating healthier, and getting in routine excercise. Stephanie’s already getting compliments, and I’m proud of her. I might have lost a few pounds, but I need to step up on the exercise. I was doing ok, then close to a week of being pretty sick has knocked me off track. But I’ll get back on the horse. At least we’re eating MUCH better consistently everyday.

Another reason to be proud of Stephanie is that she’s a happy new employee of Great West Life – you got it, that’s where I work (as if you haven’t been able to tell from my previous posts :) ). After nine years of service at MTS, Stephanie’s picking up her boots and coming over to GWL. There’s been a lot of changes within MTS, and she’s faced a lot of adversity there from idiot co-workers and management, so it was time to move on. Stephanie will be joining the change management group in GWL, which is what she’s doing now at MTS. Her first day is February 12th, 2007, and even better yet, she gets to work in the same building as me – and on the same floor! No more driving back and forth in the morning to get us to work, and to meet for lunch. Things will be much easier now.

And speaking of said employment change, that’s prompted us to make some services changes. We currently have MTS for our telephone, television, internet, and cell service. And, we get some nice discounts cause Steph is still an employee there. Can you say free internet? :) However, now that Steph’s leaving, we’re making a wholesale change. Television, internet (10 MB!), and telephone will be handled by Shaw – thanks to Ryan for the hook up! Cellular? Well, we still have contracts and all, so it’s not so simple. And, Steph gets a new cell phone today!

And this is all just January!

Stay tuned for more in our ever-evolving world!

By

2006 Has Come and Almost Gone

Wow.

It’s the end of the year already.

Well, not quite, but as the juggernaut that is Christmas stands before us just a few days away, we start to think of the year past and the year ahead.

2006 has been quite the year for me. I started a new job, moving from MTS to Great-West Life. I bought a new house in Charleswood, making more room for my family and pets. I sold our first house. I’ll never forget that house. There were some good memories there. In the biggest event of the year, and my life, I got married to my bun Stephanie.

In 2006, I made new friends, and rekindled old friendships. I got to spend time with old colleagues from MTS. I spent more time with my family. For a short time, I re-entered the music scene.

It’s been a big, but busy year, and for the most part, everything was great. Everyone has their ups and downs, but this year was failrly good to us.

Take a moment to think about all the good things that happened this year, and use that to push yourself foward into 2007. Get better. Aim higher.

Merry Christmas to everyone and best wishes to you all in 2007.