Today was my first day at our new office in Ancaster. What better time to reflect on what I will and will not miss about our old digs. From Hess Street to the Senior Cheerleading Squad, there are a lot of fond and not so found memories gathered throughout the pervious years at our former office in downtown Hamilton.
We moved from our Hamilton Spectator office to the CHCH building in downtown Hamilton about eight years ago, and after Canwest sold CHCH back in September, it was once again time to move on. Actually the sale was only one catalyst to the move. We’ve also been in a perpetual state of growth as the Digital Media group continues to play a larger role within Canwest. When we started, the IT portion of Digital Media was essentially Pete and myself. By the time we moved into CHCH, there was about ten of us. During these last years this growth has seen the team split across two floors, to the point where we no longer had any room to spare. We’re now at twenty seven and still growing. (Although by all accounts, still a very small group compared to what we do and what we’re responsible for.)
We’ve had lots of fun, lots of stress, and lots of interesting times at our old office. But as far as the office itself is concerned, it’s safe to say there’s more of what I won’t miss than of what I will. That’s not to say is was all that bad, it’s just that the location of the office, surrounded by an array of subsidized housing, led to it’s share of interesting situations. So without further ado, here’s the list.
What I’ll Miss
The People: What can I say about the folks at CHCH? They’ve been great to us during our stay. Each and every one of them. The receptionists, anchors, cameramen (camerapeople?), security guards,cleaning staff, and everyone else. They’ve all been a pleasure to work along side and I will miss each and everyone of them.
Hess Street: Hamilton has a bit of a bad rap, and to be honest, not all of it is undeserved. But there are a few gems and Hess Street is certainly one of them. A cozy little street just a block away from the office lined with bars and patios. There’s really nothing like a hot summer afternoon, sitting on a patio with an ice cold beverage. Sure there are the standard franchises around the new office, such as Jack Astor’s and Kelsey’s which will have to suffice, but they don’t have the same atmosphere nor the eye candy that one would find at Hess. (If my wife is reading this, I’m referring of course to the really nice cars that continually parade down the street.)
Senior Cheerleading Squad: Speaking of eye candy, I debated which column this particular item should appear in. I’ve decided after some debate that this gives me such a great laugh that I will in fact miss it. A number of times over any given summer, the apartment complex just outside first floor window will hold a special barbecue event. Each one has a theme, such as Christmas in July and involves food, music, and usually a bingo game. The majority of the residents at this particular complex are seniors and the festivities usually involve some sort of dance. Line dancing, the polka, you name it. One particular hot summer day in celebration of Canada day they all got into cheerleading uniforms, pompoms and all, and started into a cheerleading routing. Now I’m not one to make fun of people (ok, maybe I am) but this was priceless.
The Bus Stop: No, not the real bus stop, but the one constructed behind CHCH for a smoking shelter. There’s no smoking allowed on the grounds of the new office. So unless I want to stand out on the sidewalk in freezing cold temperatures with no wind protection, then this time quitting has to be permanent.
What I Won’t Miss
Billie Ray Valentine: No, that’s not her real name (Todd would know that, seeing as he had her detained at one point in time), but she reminds me so much of Eddie Murphy’s character from Trading Places that I gave her that nickname. She’s loud and in your face and by far the most memorable of the panhandlers around. You can often see her at the corner of Hess and King rambling out loud.
My Crack Whore: Speaking of interesting characters, there’s a certain lady of the night who I’ve run into a number of times over the years. In fact, she bummed a smoke of me once. I was waiting to cross the intersection and she was standing beside me yelling at the cops on the other corner. That all made sense of course, as she went on to explain that “those stinking cops have got nottin on her.”
Naked Man: One of the apartment units that our office windows look out upon contains a certain gentleman who is allergic to clothing. Every so often he would stroll out onto his balcony and gaze at the world below, offering us all a chance to see him in his glory. He also had a dart board out there on that balcony, but for the good of him and us, I don’t believe he ever used it.
Lack of Daylight: When the group needed more room, the dev team moved to new basement offices and I went along with them. Some may think that us IT folks would be more than happy occupying the basement, having spent most of our adult lives living in the basements of our parents’ homes, but nothing could be further from the truth. We like daylight, and not having a window to see out of has been a bit depressing.
Bathroom Noises: Right across the hall from our basement office door is a single stall bathroom. About once a day, a mystery person (whom we’ve never had the need to identify) would enter that bathroom and play the tuba ever so loudly. We all had front row seats to his philharmonic orchestra.
Machetes: The security guard warned Pete one day that they found a very large machete in the bushes just behind his parking spot. At least we were warned!
Steamers: Of all the strange and bizarre stories, this one is by far the best. I’m not sure if this particular lady really hated one of the news segments CHCH aired that day, or maybe she simply wasn’t going to make in home in time. In any case she decided to drop her drawers beside the sign out front and lay some tracks. The worst part is the security guard had to go out and pick it up.
Well, that’s all I can think of at this time, but I’m sure there’s more. I would encourage my co-workers who read this blog to add their favourite (or not so favourite) memories via comments below.