I blew past the six month mark of retirement on the weekend. In fact, Saturday, when I co-hosted the Cape Breton edition of the annual Christmas Daddies telethon in Sydney, marked the six month anniversary of the final Canada AM. So right now, I’m averaging being on TV every six months and I’m good with that! The telethon was great, and of the $475,000 raised throughout the Maritimes and the rest of Canada during the day, over $100,000 of that came from Cape Breton.
In the past six months I’ve realized that one thing I have now, that I didn’t necessarily have before, is ‘time’. By that I mean, I was always on a schedule. If I was in Toronto working, I had a routine during the week that allowed me to get the sleep I needed to be up and alert by 4am. For the most part on Fridays, I had to be at the airport right after the show to fly home. Once I was home, although I hate to admit it, in the back of my mind was always the fact I had to be at the airport on Sunday evening to fly back to Toronto. I had a routine, and I followed a schedule. I don’t do that now, and it’s taken a little bit of adjusting.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to do, it’s just that I have a lot of time to do the things I’m doing! For example, I drove to Sydney Nova Scotia on Friday for the Saturday telethon. To get from PEI to Sydney, takes about six hours by car. To get there you have two choices. Drive over the Confederation Bridge and make your way, or, you have the option of taking the ferry from Wood Islands PEI to Caribou NS, which brings you out at Pictou, about 15km from New Glasgow and the main highway. At the end of the day, the ferry is a bit more relaxing, as it breaks up the driving, but also, at the end of the day, it takes pretty much the same amount of time to get there as going over the Confederation Bridge. Since I was worried about the ferry being cancelled as it had been all week due to high winds, I decided I might as well just take the bridge route. Why? Mainly because I had the time! I left about 8.45am and my goal was to get to Sydney in the daylight. That left me plenty of…time.
Now generally when I drive somewhere, I’m one of those guys who likes to get in the car and just go. This past summer when Heather and I drove from Kingston Ontario to Charlottetown, we did it in 13 and a half hours. I was so zoned in, we only stopped three times to pee! But Friday, since I had nothing but…time….I stopped 4 times! Once in Bordon-Carleton before heading across the bridge, once just outside Sackville NB, once in New Glasgow for lunch and once in Baddeck on Cape Breton to get gas. Four stops..it was glorious, and, I arrived in Sydney by 3pm just as a skiff of light snow began to fall. So, now, I’m in Sydney, with nothing but…time…on my hands. I was checking Twitter once I got to my room and noticed the Cape Breton Partnership, a group with which I had a speaking engagement with at a conference at the Keltic Lodge in October, was having a bit of a Christmas gathering for their members just a two minute walk from where I was staying. Dare I be so bold as to ‘crash’ this party? Yep. I admit was was a little leary, but since this was Cape Breton, why not? When I walked in the door, I recognized a number of people and they recognized me and any awkwardness I felt went out the door immediately. This was about 4.45pm, and I was able to stay right until the bitter end, because, well, I had …the time. We headed back to the bar at the hotel about 8pm and met up with the gang that was crewing the Christmas Daddies telethon the next day, and also ran into some great friends who were organizing and part of the band. I could stay at the bar for as long as I wanted, because, well..you know.
Next day was the telethon, and that had me up and out and at the CTV Sydney studios by 10am. The show ran from 11 to 6. And while you’re probably saying this was a scheduled event, and it was, it was all I had to do that day. The only agenda after the show was the wrap party, which really was a recipe for a great time so I don’t count that as time consuming, but rather time well spent!
There are a couple of things missing on PEI. First, there is no passport office here. That means you have a choice of mailing in your application, and run the risk of making a mistake and having it sent back and missing your vacation buried in correcting paperwork, or you can go to the Passport Canada office in Halifax. Since we all needed new passports, the plan was to drive on Sunday from Sydney to Halifax, and stay in a hotel and get up early Monday and go to the Passport office. So, on Sunday, the only thing I had to do was drive from Sydney to Halifax. I head plenty of time.
I arrived in Halifax about 3pm and it struck me I had nothing to do. Nothing. Not a thing. It was only 3pm. So, it became a day of watching football in the hotel room. I also noticed how tired I was, and figuring it wasn’t from the four hour drive from Sydney to Halifax, it must have been from the events of the two previous evenings. At 8.30 I checked in with Heather and at 8.45 I hit the sack.
The passport office in Halifax opens at 8.30am, so on Monday I was up and made the 5 minute walk to the office to arrive at 8.20. I was the fifth person to arrive and there were 9 people waiting in the hallway. Going to be a busy day I thought, but no problem, I’ve got all the……time…… in the world to get these so a little wait is a litte wait. The door opened right at 8.30, five minutes later I was called up, 15 minutes, and 5 passport applications later, I was out the door, and by 9am I was back at the hotel. Perfect. That left me plenty of time for the other two things I wanted to do.
You’ll remember I said there are a ‘couple’ of things missing on PEI. Well, my second stop took me to a Nova Scotia Liquor Store. We’ve become fond of several brands of Nova Scotia wines,(don’t knock it until you’ve tried them), and many aren’t readily available in PEI. Since I had plenty of time before driving back, in fact all the time I wanted, I searched out a store and spent a while looking at the selection and chatting with the very pleasant store staff. Could have spent hours in there, but I had one more stop to make. It was a place where I was fully prepared to spend all the time it took in the check-out line. You see, we have no COSTCO in PEI.
As anticipated, it was packed. No worries. I had the time. Oh, 32 cans of Diet Pepsi for 8 bucks..better get two..lint rollers, a 4 pak, with a refill, for 11 bucks..better get two..paper towels..a 12 pak, look at that price..check…30 rolls of toilet paper, OMG..16 bucks..better get two, no, wait..I’ve got room in the car, I’ll take three. Hey, don’t judge me, it isn’t worth the time!
On Twitter: @jeffhutcheson
Info on my Scenic Luxury Tours Mekong Cruise next November.
Representation: Dan Champagne