Saturday, March 31, 2007

In like a lion out like a lamb

Well March is on it's last day today and the saying of 'in like a lion out like a lamb' is sure holding true. It was a sunny but windy spring day here yesterday and today and I went out front to check on the number of daffodils sprouted and am pleased to report that over 2/3 of them have tops reaching for the sun. Never sure in a new location how they'll make out. The clothes dried beautifully (love that smell) and didn't even require surgical excision from the pulley line today. I've decided that laundry (especially hanging them out) cooking and baking are all the housework I enjoy. Unfortunately that is not all I get to do but it is tough being a grown up.

I spoke to the real estate agent this week as our contract has to be signed again for the old house, she suggested dropping the price, saying that prices are just going to have to come down. We don't have far to reduce, feeling it's not over priced now and we're certainly not going to give it away. But we settled on $87,500 as she says that the longer the place stays on the market, someone will think there's something wrong with it.Never thought we'd be looking at re-listing after a year on the market. Sigh.

I struggled with finding, sorting and adding up all the receipts for the income taxes to be done. One of my most unfavorite jobs so I forced myself to do before reading the paper, walking the dog or anything more enjoyable. Always ponder how there is so much money on paper but not in the hand at the end of the year.

Have been continuing with my 'routine' as prescribed by the fitness fanatic and am finding that I'm actually able to get through the whole program without being sure I'm going to die anymore. I think since the groaning has reduced the cats are becoming bored with the floor show and have gone back to napping.

Tomorrow was a possible day excursion to camp but.. it is not to be. Guess since we've waited this long another few weekends won't matter. The boat(s) take precedence as the boat shop / wharf / lobster pound were the venue today and tomorrow it's working on the boat in Smithsville before the captain heads out fishing again. Sometimes just talking about some R&R or pretending you're going to find the time is therapeutic.

This will allow me some quiet packing time (you know the date for departure is getting near when you're counting pairs of underwear to put in the suitcase and wearing raggedy ones here till the big day). And speaking of underwear, a word to those who do not co-habit with someone who works in fiberglas. NEVER (or allow anyone else to) wash your underwear with work clothes with splinters of fiberglas in them. Actually anything that comes in contact with skin is an even better rule. That's your tip for the week and I do speak from previous experience. So hypervigilance of the laundry is the order of the day lately.

Off to make a lobster lunch for the male offspring. News flash - lobsters are $11 paid to the boats - can you believe it? This will change when catches increase but even a crate (100 lbs) are worth going for now at this price.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring fever or what?

Well this has been some kind of a week at work with the majority of those I've interacted with + + antsy. Not sure why - spring fever? talk of budget cuts? even heavier than usual workload? notification of new staffing patterns? All of the above? It has been one of those five day periods where (adult responsibilities like eating and paying the power bill aside) it would have been easy otherwise to say as the country song goes... take this job and shove it! However, tomorrow is Friday and as another song goes .... everybody's working for the weekend! That accurately describes this chick at this point. Speaking of working for something - it was payday today as well, which is one of my two most favorite times in the work month.

Today a colleague came from another site to help out with a presentation at work and it was great to have someone there for support - the home crowd is always a tough one - and to keep me from myself (would interfere with my cruise if I'm incarcerated for acting out my fantasies of butt kicking). Made the situation a little more frantic than usual but in a good way. I'm guessing the staff now think we're both crazy, not just me.

As for the travel plans, they've kind of taken a back seat to the occupational goings ons but am slowly picking away at my to-do list. Got a call from the bank saying they had my US money collected up. Hard call to think of how many dollars you'll need to buy souvenirs, sustenance and activities in countries you've only read about. Guess the rule of twice as much money, half as much in the suitcase applies as usual. Now just have to find a way to get to the financial establishment before closing time to pick up the $. Not much left to organize, good thing as there are only nine sleeps left before the escape.

The face scab is healing (I'm guessing) well as it's really itchy and kind of loose. The suspense for those monitoring the face (co-workers as they're looking at it and I'm looking out of it) is like watching egg hatching. I get comments like "do you think it will be ok underneath?" My latest reply has been "well the dermatologist assured me that in 10 - 12 days (day 8 today) it would be completely gone and I have to believe him as he went to school for about 10 years to be able to say that" Usually shuts down the speculation.

The fitness routine is getting manageable now, must be doing something right I guess. Will help with my trudging through the heat and humdity shortly. I can only hope the heat, the forecast was for flurries several times this week. But spring is headed our way as the daffodils are up and budded out front of the house - the ones our future son-in-law dug holes for last fall so I could plant the very generous gift of 100 bulbs from one of our summer neighbours. Such a sign of hope to see those brave first flowers, much better than the ticks which will soon follow.

Well, off to get ready for tomorrow. Have to take my mother to the dentist in the morning. This is usually quite an adventure, am sure tomorrow will be no exception.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's over!!

Tonight there was another milestone in my life - another graduation - it was for the Online Basic Infection Control Course which I completed from Queens University. The profs each had some parting advice and words of congratulation then the course director played Pomp & Circumstance in the background while each of our groups had a valedictorian who said a few words on our behalf. The best part was that for the very first time since September, I had the house completely free of humans and to myself so I could actually concentrate. The certificate is in the mail. Kind of a nice wrap up for seven months of hard work. And boy am I excited it’s over! What will I do with all my free time? I’m sure I can think of a thing (or 100) to fill it in with.

There was some discussion of a celebratory trip this weekend to the camp. Talk about living the high life eh? I’m thinking that with some of the snow melt starting to dry up it may be possible to make our way in through Clyde River and over to Wagner Lake without jarring too many teeth loose in the attempt. I haven’t been in for a year and a half and mister hasn’t made it there since last fall so it would be good to check up on the state of affairs and show the spiders who’s boss. We’ll have to see how the marine weather works out. Can imagine there are some folks who manage to plan their social lives without catching the forecast but I have no idea what that kind of lifestyle looks like.

Tomorrow after work I have a massage appointment so I‘ve got supper ready to put in the slow cooker in the a.m. Makes tomorrow worth getting up for (that and a much anticipated visit by the cleaning lady) with the spa being a nice unwind after the past couple of days. This morning the phone rang at 4:18 a.m. and it was the Captain who our son lobsters with calling to tell him not to bother to get up, he would wait until daylight and “have another look at it”. When I answered he says “oh, I thought he’d answer the phone” well, considering he doesn’t have one in his room and goes into a coma requiring a severe shaking to wake him, it’s not likely. A more logical approach than waking ¾ of the house might be to just not show up - the hired man will figure out you’re not going. My nerves. In some other houses a middle of the night call might cause alarm but not here - it’s business as usual.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fashion consult report

I took this photo early this morning as it was more enjoyable than looking out the windows at the snow fall we had last night. It disappeared by noon but in the meantime we had a winter wonderland again. It was so warm with the solar gain by afternoon that the ceiling fan had to be on and the cats wanted out in the veranda so they could go big game (fly) hunting until naptime. Even the dog walk was mild Keely got to the spa (mud bath) in the ditches.

The fashion consultant leant her opinions (and boy does she have definite ones) on the travel wardrobe. Now for those of you without a teenage daughter in the house at present, let me tell you the consult was a bit of a exercise in flaying my self-esteem. For example (and this from someone who's generation has not only enhanced the 70s color combos but allowed pink and red together for example) she says "how many times do I have to tell you that you cannot wear pink and blue together?" Where was I when the fashion police made this decree? I keep up on current events, read the paper every day, check online breaking news - who says it's is not correct to place these hues in proximity? To avoid a walk out by the consultant and since I have no idea if this is in fact true (I am uncool enough to know I am) I capitulated. And to her credit for some of the choices I made, the critic just rolled her big brown eyes, sighed and said "well if you don't have anything else that will have to do" or "I don't like that but I guess you do" We actually scored a couple of agreements along the way and so the packing list was completed. I hauled out (and measured) the suitcases and started organizing some stacks of clothing. Only 12 more days to departure - but who's counting eh?

Not sure why I'm concerned with the wardrobe when there is a large blotch on the side of my face which has to do some healing before I look fantastic in my outfits. But it does feel MUCH better and that's the best part.

The travel partner and I have had several cryptic email exchanges for example, whether I need to surreptiously pack the small binoculars which mister fancies, which shore excursions look good - I assured her my goal is to check out The Pines Retirement Home in Georgetown, Grand Cayman - beyond that I'm agreeable to whatever (not planning to say one thing and then pout because I didn't really mean that and you should know - more like spousal behavior there) and we decided she would bring the travel alarm clock as we don't want to miss anything!

I spoke to a friend today and as we were chatting her husband was heard in the background nattering about the state of the kitchen etc. and then he starts about a pot "just leave that" my friend says mildly but he continues to yabber on about the pot and how it will never come clean etc. So she just lets him go on (she has a very easy going personality) as he scrubs (to keep him busy) until it becomes apparent that he is trying to resurrect the pot as a cooking implement. "I'm going to throw that out" she says calmly to him but he continues so she says to me "it's an old pot and I was practicing dyeing wool for my rug hooking class and I forgot the stuff in there and it burned on - what a smell so I'm chucking it" Although I thought this was hilarious, I was concerned that possibly dual retirement might look like this. Maybe I'm not ready for it yet. Even on a Sunday night when I'm facing the daily grind tomorrow, I have to ask myself ... could I manage (without being imprisoned) this kind of domestic interaction? Since the answer is.. not yet - the work week calls me.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring has Sprung

Well spring has arrived because... I was able to hang the laundry on the clothesline to dry today. Smells so good when it's fresh air dried - no comparison - the cats have been thrilled with the outdoors transported in ever since. Now, that's not to say that it was easy to retrieve those dried clothes because it was a two person operation to untwist the pulley clothesline, flip articles of clothing off and over the line and pick up things from across the yard. Will have to get used to this different climate here across the road.

Speaking of the two laundry inspectors, here is shot of them assisting me with my blogging. Who would think that the best seats in the house would be on top of the cabinets in the utility room? They take turns inhabiting the wooden prune box (note Stanley's extra long tail) large basket, or just lying out. I'm not impressed when they exit by jumping straight down on either the keyboard or me (they're used to hitting the chair when leaving). The canine assistant as you can see could care less about the blogging - she is trying to keep a low profile as it's almost bedtime.

This afternoon I spent being the official photographer for the future son-in-law's university project. I hope I get a good mark. I was out taking photos of Port Clyde and I've spent the better part of the evening online emailing them to him. So if someone is trying to reach me too bad. For all those spoiled with high speed internet think phone out of comission for hours as files are slowly uploaded and sent. Sigh. That's why there are only occasionally photos here on the blog. It has to be late at night (not unusual) or when I have lots of patience (less common) to upload the files.

My face is healing so now it's + + itchy and looks like the top layer is sliding off but at least the swelling and pain have settled a bit. I think it's better if it's left uncovered but only my immediate family will put up with looking at it like that.

So, pre-trip planning checklist as there are only 13 more sleeps before leaving.... Vaccines completed, antimalarials started? Check. Found the lint brush so we don't look like cat owners? Check. Picked out some paperbacks for the down time? Check. Reviewed the cruise information? Check. Decorated a notebook for a travel journal? Check. Started packing? Nope - keep getting interrupted. And my fashion consultant has been too busy but... since I wrote three cheques to UNB this afternoon before she left to become a Subway Sandwich Artist for the evening... I think there's a good chance we might manage a fashion show/packing spree tomorrow before her main squeeze arrives that is.

Time to close as the sandwich artist / fashion consultant has arrived home and wants to access cyberspace. Hasta.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I made it

After all the whining in the last post I thought it was important that I check in and reassure that I am still surviving. Actually though whether it was the procedure, day trip to the city or just the frantic pace I really felt like the snap was taken out of me today. My face has a large, dark ,swollen discolored, weeping, itchy, burning, painful sloughing area on the upper left cheek… but other than that everything’s great. I did have the presence of mind to put an extra large band aid in my pocket as I left the house this morning and it wasn’t long before that turned out to be a good idea. “What happened to your face?“ Was the standard greeting today instead of “oh no, here she comes again, it’ll mean more work”. There were several creative explanations for the bandage which occurred to me or someone else, the best of which was one of the LPNs at the Manor who told me to say “I’m trying to quit smoking and I have no willpower so I need a patch this big” It would fit the criteria of a spot above the level of the heart.

I am proud to say that I didn’t use my face as an excuse to not do my exercise program and even invited the torturer down (after Boot Camp) to make sure that my technique was right and I understood all the moves. I was kind of afraid that since I could still walk without limping that perhaps I wasn’t do it correctly. But on the whole I had it right and am actually finding that even with this being only my third session that I can make it all the way through without feeling like I’m going to pass out now. I made sure that mister was safely settled in bed reading and then said “this is not a spectator sport, I don’t expect to see you”. The cats however were highly amused by the dance music, the flailing and the panting but Crystal says her critters are so conditioned to it that they ignore her.

Today was pay day, always a highlight in my month so the baby daughter has gone off with the debit and air miles card to grocery shop. I must say the cats are annoyed as they’re out of cat food and have been pacing for a couple of hours while they wait for the grub. I’m not a big fan of putting away groceries at any time of day but at 11:30 p.m. it does make me a bit testy. However I get to leave late tomorrow morning as I’m off to Yarmouth for a meeting and afterwards to pick up the cruise package (am guessing it’s confirmation numbers, tickets etc) from the travel agent. It is Friday as well so there be a happy dance performed by yours truly.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Whew - that was close

The past two days have been an even extra whirlwind because….. yesterday afternoon I got a call from the receptionist at the medical center telling me that she had an appointment for me with the dermatologist at 11:30 today! This goes back to last month when I did an online Cancer Care NS course on recognizing skin cancers (thought it would look good on the resume for Cayman Islands actually if you’re trying to make a connection to my day job). It was a good course with lots of photos and one of the sets of pictures showed a lesion which was very similar to one on the left side of my face. Mind you it’s been there for years but this is one of the risks of education as ’a little knowledge being a dangerous thing’. Nurses are notorious for ‘having’ whatever they’re studying currently (we used to be asked in nurses training what we were studying that week if we presented at ER) and we often self-diagnose then go to the family doctor for a second opinion. So, this is what I did. I was impressed that my GP agreed with my possible diagnosis and he hadn’t done the online course (mind you he reassured me that he’d done lots of other ones that’s why he was allowed to practice) but this also kind of alarmed me at the same time. A referral was made to a dermatologist (they’re booking for end of August now) with the note I’d travel and take a cancellation if able. So, there I was yesterday afternoon proving how flexible I can be. A quick call to a co-worker to cover and an email to the boss to explain my disappearance and Wednesday became a sick leave day just like that. We take many things for granted and although I wasn’t ‘freaked out’ it was on my mind as I made my preparations. A little reality check never hurts when you’re busy whining about relatively minor stuff.

The dermatologist was wonderful - very knowledgeable, and a great manner (rare combination sometimes in specialists) so it was a good visit. He tells me that these things are never guaranteed but a matter of percentages but it didn‘t look like anything to be concerned about. The problem with the spot being on my face is that although I don’t consider myself excessively vain, I do have skin that forms keyloids so I wasn’t thrilled with the thought of a biopsy. He suggested he could freeze it off with liquid nitrogen, it would look terrible for about 10 - 12 days and leave no mark. Will I be able to wear my snorkel mask as I’m leaving in 17 days ? I ask (I have my priorities straight now that it’s not a dangerous spot) and am reassured - yes of course. So, he just did the treatment right then (hurt like blazes as the spot was the size of a quarter) and off I went. Had a lot of burning and pain on the way home and now the local reaction is setting in and with the swelling and discoloration the area is 1.5 inches across and I can see it out of the corner of my left eye it’s so raised. This will be charming for interacting with the public. As it is folks run from infection control practitioners, this sure won’t make me any more welcome. I did get some strange looks at the Pandemic presentation this evening and by the time this thing really takes off it will likely need to be hid under a super size band aid. I had to ask for help from a clerk at the drug store as I was trying to view the spot with a lipstick mirror while holding up band aid packages to my face without touching it as it’s really tender - we decided that extra large was the best option. Apparently I am not one who would cope well with cosmetic surgery - best to find that out now I guess before I’m famous.

Anyway, the trip afforded the chance to hand deliver my prescription for a plastic lens to the dive shop and I picked up a disposable underwater camera (a necessity for Stingray City). One of the divers there told me his friend worked at Stingray City and said that arrogant tourists were rubbed with squid juice which caused the rays to leave hickies all over them - will have to be sure to leave my attitude on the cruise ship - I would have some explaining to do when I got home about total body hickies for sure! I picked up some last minute travel goodies at the drug store and stopped at Canadian Tire on the way back. Just happened to get distracted by Mark’s Work Warehouse and ended up with a stain resistant t-shirt (what will they think of next?) and two tank tops on sale. I won’t recognize myself (or at least my wardrobe) on my travels.

Made for a long day though and then to add on an evening event. Managed to catch Izetta though after the presentation and tell her to order me some cruise scrapbooking stickers to go with all those great photos I’m going to bring back, so not a complete loss. Now I’m thinking I need to get my carcass in bed but I’m guessing that the face isn’t going to feel great coming in contact with the pillowcase. Oh and exercising tomorrow with the face pointing down - great. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fit yet?

Back to the regular work routine today and of course that began with the excavation of 75 + emails, voice mails, sorting of paper mail. All the 'new fangled' technology has only increased the overstimulation and expectations of immedicacy - not reduced anything. Everyone who had been waiting for my return pounced and I didn't get much of my 'to do' list done. One of those positive messages was from the travel agent saying that the travel 'stuff' had arrived and could be picked up (so that's on Friday's list). Did manage to suffer through the last of the course lectures while sorting mail etc. Thankfully the topic is occupational health so at least I can fake it! Had a group teleconference tonight to address the quiz so now it's only two more to go and one is the e-grad ceremony. Just give me that certificate and no one will get hurt!

Today's was Mom's 93rd birthday so I dropped over to Roseway Manor at lunch with a cake for her. She was pleased to see me as someone who belonged to her - she always asks if I'm driving the (getaway) car. The staff had decorated the hall and kitchen with streamers, had party napkins and plates all waiting. I managed to get the candles lit without any major fire hazard and myself, staff and the other residents sang a rousing happy birthday. When I asked what her wish was as she blew out the candles she said "to get the heck out of this place" As one of the nurses said "that was her wish last year too, some things never change" She managed to sit still long enough to eat a big piece of cake which is great as she's down to 122lbs due to being on the go so much lately. She hasn't been settling to eat and is doing a pretty good aerobic workout herself with the pacing and kicking of exit doors. There was a wall display of the birthday celebrant so when I pointed out the photo of her and asked who it was, Mom says "oh I don't know that could be any of these old one's grandmothers - you never know around here" We are so lucky that she is living in such a wonderful caring place. Makes a tough situation much better.

Today the official confirmation arrived from University of New Brunswick (Fredericton campus) for the Bachelor of Nursing program prospective student along with room confirmation and.... an entrance bursary for $500 for an 80% average - not too shabby! So becoming more real all the time but still a long way to send your baby - 18 or not - especially to a challenging program. Will have to keep my eyes peeled at Frenchy's for scrub suits and warm up jackets in size extra small for (as her future brother-in-law calls her) the short surly one.

Managed to fit in a brisk walk and then my exercise routine. This involved locking myself into the bedroom, turning up the music loud (to cover my groans and panting) taking the baking timer to let me know when the two minutes of cardio torture was up, doing my best and trying to keep track of my reps etc. My fitness friend said "oh you're a closet exerciser are you?" No I told her, I just can't stand fending off the cats or advice from the life partner in my fragile state. Discovered that I really couldn't remember what those written down terms meant so decided that 'coming close' and getting my heart rate up was the main thing. Definitely did that as well as face flushed and short of breath - even if it's not completely right form. Will get together with my fit friend on Thursday to reinforce my 'style' I think it can best be described as flailing, or perhaps distressed. Actually this time around it was not nearly as exhausting so just maybe I've gained a tiny bit of ground.

Cleaning lady here tomorrow. Woohoo!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mondays - love em or hate em

Before I attempt to describe today's goings on I must remember to share how non-socially orientated my life partner is when focused on a project (and not just because I'm too mean to let him travel with me this year either) It seems after he had the boat safely settled in the boat shop on Saturday and was making plans to do some final demolition work on Sunday he spoke to the younger partner of the firm (a 20 something yr old) who says... "Oh, we're going out so I won't be around tomorrow, but I'll leave the key for you" So, a puzzled Tim says "You're going out lobstering, I thought it was giving wind?" Which caused gales of mirth and then the explanation "No, we're going out this evening to a party so I'm not planning to be working tomorrow" In fact this dialog was repeated to our son when he too attended the party with the addition of "man your father's got to get a life" added on. Mind you, he has one, just not a socially inclined one at the moment. Now how is that for a definition of socially challenged eh?

Although there was an early start to the day it included a good trip (with a chance for us to chat) to Church Point in time for daughter # 2 to attend her first class. Lots of phone calls to catch up on my absence from work (can't wait to find out how many emails are lying in wait for me) and a general orientation session for new employees. So busy but manageable. Not as much fun being back at work today as on vacation - funny about that eh? But I survived and it is one day closer to ...departure.

I managed to pick up an exercise mat when I traveled near a Superstore today. I've discovered that I have to store it in the closet with the door shut because the cats think I bought it for them as a new claw spa. In keeping with the fitness theme I'll share a website which my fitness instructor / sadist recommended where you can put in your food intake, exercise etc. and it computes you're tally etc, it's really good but I'm NOT sharing my journal with the public - who would want to advertise their dietary indescretions to the world? Guess you'd have to be perfect (or dishonest) in your choices:

And as well the need for all the exercise as per Maxine:

Tonight I had a teleconference class for the infection control course I'm doing. This involves 45+ students and the prof dialing into a group discussion for at least an hour. There is a review of the general topic, case studies and exams - on a complex subject - and lots of interaction from across North America. Now these teleconferences for some reason cause every fishermen, fish dealer or neighbour that is even remotely acquainted with him to call Tim during this time. And if there is no answer or they receive a voice mail message they hang up and immediately dial back repeatedly. This causes me (tonight it was 4 times) to have to go with headset on mute to search out the object of their attentions, take the cell phone (in this case mine as mister had once again left his in the truck up by the barn) and point to the number on the screen of the portable phone (usually accompanied by my scowling face) because they are if nothing else... persistent and it's really difficult to participate in the class while I'm losing large spaces of it to call waiting 'beeps' They must be able to sense it's a bad time to call because the phone will not ring for a whole evening if I don't have a teleconference. Won't miss that part of it either!

Anyway, time to hit the hay to rest up for all that fun and excitement waiting for me tomorrow. Hasta manana.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What was I thinking?

Well, today was my first day at boot camp - complete with fit (or not) testing and I have the aches to show for it! At least I didn’t die - just wanted to at various points during the session. What was I thinking? My fitness instructor (AKA sadist) says that I’ll quickly improve if I stick with it. That’s the good thing about starting in really bad shape it can only get better from here. Now I have my program to follow three times per week. I’m guessing it will feel like slamming your hand in the car door….much better when you stop. Although daughter # 2 (who is a fitness instructor at university) did not laugh hysterically at the easiness of the routine so perhaps it is a thorough way to start. And as one of the staff at work said about my fitness friend “she scares us, we can’t go there” This is coming from ladies who are not fitness class drop outs. Anyway, enough whining.

The jolt back to work after a very nice week off is accompanied by doing the orientation session in Yarmouth for new staff in the district tomorrow morning. Nothing like heading back right into it. Daughter # 2 arrived back from the city and the weather this evening took a nasty turn with whiteouts and black ice so….it’ll just be an earlier start in the morning with a detour to Church Point then back to Yarmouth. Makes more sense to be paid mileage for 2/3 of the student transportation anyway.

Now, thinking of more pleasant topics than return to work - less than 3 weeks until trip departure - 20 days to be exact. But who’s counting? So, that’s not long to wait to be off work again. And not so long to get everything organized for the escape. If you'd like to check out the virtual cruise experience you can follow this link:

Then from the top row, middle column choose Voyager Family and select Explorer of the Seas so you can see the ship with all the facilities for ex. rock climbing wall, staterooms (we'll be in 8310), shore excursions etc. Not sure how I'll handle the 3,000 + passengers coming from a village of 76 souls though. This dreaming is what keeps me going as I just realized that in addition to the travel day for work there is a teleconference for my class tomorrow night. Ugh. Only 3 more of those to go. Can see the end of that extra work from here. Yeehaw.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

There is celebrating in this household because...the big news of the day is that the baby daughter was accepted at University of New Brunswick, School of Nursing in Fredericton for this September. Now that her future is settled away a bit, she is pretty tickled but I wasn’t really prepared for the geographic distance. However, away is away once you move on. Hopefully the Digby to Saint John ferry will still be in service.

The man of the hour managed to steam his boat down from the wharf to the boat shop this morning and get it trucked inside. Said he decided to invite one of the local fishermen (who just happened to be very hungover) to assist with navigation (radar loose and turned backwards on the top of the wheelhouse) as he wasn’t familiar with the ledges getting into the harbour. Sure woke up the navigator in a hurry. The cats and I heard the exhaust through the thick fog but couldn’t see a thing as he went past. So, that was a relief to himself and he was on cloud nine when he returned for lunch. Now the real work begins. Has the heir to the empire lined up for the 'strong back weak mind' work beginning tomorrow. In the meantime he continues to rig gear in the utility room (am I tired of this yet? yes) with his gear rigging assistant - Gary:
Discussions recently turned to fisheries meetings between the US/Canada for Georges Bank and although the Captain says every time that “this is my last meeting, I’m done” there appears to be talk of a Halifax pre-meeting and then a session on April 4th in the US. He has a major investment in this quota so it makes sense to keep on top of things. This will mean at least that he’s not around for the last minute cruise preparations - I’m getting tired of secreting my purchases as if I were Santa in the walk-in closet, and furtively looking through the travel brochure as if it were X X X rated.

Friday, March 16, 2007

March Break storm - as usual

Had a early start where I got up to make pancakes for daughter # 2 going off to Halifax for the weekend to work at being a pirate at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic but… wasn’t really awake and managed to make crepes the first time around (they did look kind of flat but my eyes weren’t really open) when the daughter says “Mom did you forget to put baking soda in these?” I sure did. So the second attempt was much lighter. After she headed out I decided that the cooking accident meant I was sleep deprived and crawled up on the sofa (complete with two cats on top of me) and dozed until the phone awakened me with the offspring announcing her safe arrival in the city. Much better way to start my last day of vacation.

We are in the midst of another (hopefully the last of the season) winter storm. It seems that we always get a really nasty blizzard the week of March Break and this year kept the pattern. Since this afternoon we’ve had snow, ice pellets and now freezing rain with high winds - what a mess! Think this is one of those times when the dog gets to be an inside canine for the night. Daughter # 3 is getting tired of crashing overnight at her friend’s house when she works and it storms - has worn out the zipper in her overnight bag.

I managed to get my travel vaccines started yesterday and it’s a pretty tightly choreographed dance to get oral typhoid, doctoral and antimalarials scheduled. Am ticking off my ‘to-do’ list daily with preparation in stages. Would have had a fashion show today to set up my cruise packing but… my fashion consultant is being a sandwich artist and then storm stayed. So that’s on tomorrow’s agenda.

I’ve made arrangements with my friend (a personal trainer) to get a program going as I’ve decided I’ve got to get myself in better shape so had to give my life/medical history and sign all my rights away to allow a consult. We’re hoping to get together on Sunday to get a routine set up. If I had to think of adding driving to/from and participating in a fitness class to my present schedule… it would not happen. And I want to be able to keep up with my travel mate on our vacation, if she should opt for a session in the gym.

How does a week of vacation slip away so quickly and a week of work take an eternity to get through? Amazing about measuring time eh? Two more days of temporary freedom before it's back to the usual routine.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

We're bacccckkkkkkkkk

We had a wonderful road trip to Cape Breton but now it’s back to the real world of errands, housework and meals not prepared for us. We started out on Sunday, stopping at Frenchy’s in Liverpool - scored a nice summer top and then on to Halifax. Enjoyed supper with daughter # 3 and daughter #2s boyfriend, courtesy of Mr. Chang, yummy. Then a evening of being serenaded by dueling guitars, while we wore our winter jackets ‘ me thinks the boys must be paying for their own heat now and saving their money for beer’ and finally fell into a restless sleep on two lumpy couches. Up early due to city noises and a brisk walk to the Bluenose Restaurant for breakfast, back in time to narrowly avoid a parking ticket and on the road to CB.

Stopped in Antigonish to visit a consignment shop which I’d always wanted to check out - it was great but only took cash (so this limited the buying power to a pair of jeans and a evening top). Then the drive through to Sydney arriving in time for a power shop at Value Village before checking in at the Delta. Over to a friends for supper and a catch up visit with planning for the mall attack the next day. Tried to have an adult swim at 10 pm in the pool after all the shrieking March Break kids were banished but the lifeguard wasn’t buying that daughter # 3 was 19 or over. Had a rest up sleep - heaven . Awoken by a ‘wrong number’ call at 7:45 so up to read the paper and meet the friend for breakfast while the non 19 year old slept in. Off to the Mayflower Mall for a day of checking out the bargains and we had great luck! My friend managed to find two pairs of slacks for $20 and a beautiful jacket which was originally $139 for $20 so just couldn’t leave it at the store. Daughter # 3 got some prom shoes, some tops, and underwear. I managed to get fitted for decent bras, scoop up tops, pajamas, shorts, underwear, skirt and some drug store necessities. We were too pooped to think of a big meal so we ordered pizza and garlic fingers and vegged out in the hotel room until that settled and braved the squealing masses for a dip in the pool. Does it get any better than this? I don’t think so! Was difficult to say goodbye to the friend (hadn’t seen her in 2.5 yrs) as the visit was so short.

Off in the morning to catch a breakfast sandwich at Subway which the sandwich artist recommended (and paid for) then on the road via St Peters to check out a consignment store there recommended by my friend - great shop - and managed to find a top for work there. Down to Halifax to break up the drive by a Value Village shop (not as good as the one in Sydney) with a find of a top. A visit to the Bulk Barn for human treats and then Pets Unlimited for feline treats (and a peek at the poor critters in the cages - pugs for $1300!!) before the daughter drove home (nice break). So a good time was had by mother and daughter.

Today was one of running errands in town which was strangely deserted (must be because of March Break) so made the tasks quicker. Car registration, pick up filters at the machine shop, visit to nursing home, pharmacy for vaccines, Sobeys for groceries, Frenchy’s for a bathing suit cover-up, back to retrieve the truck from servicing and then home. Unload and put away groceries, make lasagna, garlic bread and cesar salad for supper and complete a list of phone calls. After supper a visit from my travel mate who brought a house warming gift of the most amazing corkscrew you have ever seen! We got to go over details about the trip, share the travel medicine info and a fashion show of the power shopping results (all on the QT while mister was rigging gear) following a house tour and a wine tasting of mister's winery. So a very full but great day - good thing I took vacation - how else would I have fit everything in?

I was thinking in all the driving while my car mate was watching movies on DVD beside me that... even by putting the Mustad baiter on hold and the boat in the boat shop for modifications that himself has still (as is customary) underestimated by half the time and energy required for this project. The boat was 'brought around' from plant to local wharf on Tuesday but is now waiting for the 'tides to come high enough' so the boat in the shop can be launched and this one put in - already a week behind schedule. Some things never change.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gear, wine and grinding

Forgot to mention that I was surprised to find the man of the house rigging longline gear (at least it was new) in the utility room while wearing my..... clogs when I arrived home yesterday. Guess it's better than finding him in my dress but it startled me. "Better traction for stepping on gangions with these" he says. My nerves. The cats have been providing a diversion if not assistance by jumping into and out of the hole made in the middle of the coil of rope, chewing on the tuna leader line which serves as gangions, attempting to make off with the groundline (rope) in the teeth and leaping into the mound of gear waiting to be coiled. As the prodigal son reported when he got up to go lobstering this morning he thought he would have to 'shack the cats off the trawl' as they were hanging out of it in what looked like a major snarl.

Combine this with the fact that the utility room smells like an Emergency Room on Saturday night after the bars have closed and the cabs have dropped off those who fell off their bar stools or were involved in altercations at some point during the evening but didn't want to leave. Why? Because the gear rigger is also a master vintner who set a wine kit on Thursday and boy is it ever starting to work - every once in a while the pressure must build up under the cover and it 'burps' out a real strong yeasty aroma. All this after putting in time doing grinding and demolition on the boat being prepared for the retrofit - Tuesday is the day for 'steaming her around to the boat shop' so most of the stripping out has to be done by then. Man of many talents.

One day down and a road trip to go. Spent today getting ready to head out to our exotic island vacation - hard to argue with that description of Cape Breton if you've ever spent time there. You also know that technology has arrived to rural Nova Scotia when you can Google Guy's Frenchy's to find locations and check on the hours of operation. So, it will be a few days before you get to hear all the details of the mother and daughter travels.

For those of you NOT in Saskatchewan... tonight is the date to change the clocks - spring ahead and fall back - although it's three weeks earlier than usual this year. Can't imagine this body will want to get up any earlier to go to work! OK, do not think of that - you're on vacation, you're on vacation.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Nine days off and counting

No post yesterday but… it was International Women’s Day so what did you expect? As of today I am officially on vacation for the next nine days - yeehaw! It was a mad dash to the finish as I attempted to tie up all the loose ends. Why is it that in trying to take a vacation the energy required for the exodus means you really need it when it arrives? I did manage in all the details to snag my family Dr. and get him to write the prescription for my travel vaccinations and medications so that was a positive event. Dropped the Rx off to the drug store to give them a start on ordering them in so I can start the antimalarials two weeks early as required. I finished up my day with a massage as there was a cancellation so I got offered an appointment - not going to turn that down !

We’re (myself and baby daughter) are heading down to Halifax on Sunday (going to crash with daughter # 2s boyfriend and his room mates - talk about infection control issues) to break up the drive to Cape Breton. Daughter # 3 (it’s her last March Break and she would have been in Paris on the school trip if she hadn’t changed her mind) is already making plans to pick up rental DVDs for the Trans Canada. After a leisurely tour of Frenchy’s along the way (cruise wear shopping remember?) we’ll be in Sydney on Monday night to have supper with a friend and stay at the Delta. Memo to self, remember to pack your swimsuit - no one will recognize you there. My friend is taking Tuesday off so we should have a good day then heading back on Wednesday. Haven’t been in Cape Breton since my job disappeared 2.5 years ago, hard to believe. In fact we haven’t had a road trip since then either, just quick runs to Halifax, Church Point etc. so this will be more fun than work related runs in the past.

Have a four day weekend upon my return - what will I do with time off during the week? Well, after I finish up with all the errands I've promised, housework I've put off and the library book - that should take care of it. Why does vacation go so quickly and work go so slowly eh?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Review of the literature

This will be a brief note because… the cleaning lady comes tomorrow so that means I have to excavate so she has surfaces to clean - this is just the way it is the night before ‘the event‘. People who say “how ridiculous to clean before the cleaner comes” have never considered how ridiculous it would be to pay someone to do an archeological dig instead of putting the finishing touches on the polishing.

The other reason for a short note is because… I NEED to review my cruise information (quite a hefty package) which I picked up from the travel agent today while in Yarmouth (had to make that drive on slippery roads with impaired visibility worthwhile) She says that this trip is meant to be as she has never seen such great sales on hotel rooms in Miami (Wyndam and Hyatt) and she discovered on booking that we saved an additional $250 on the cruise to pay for those accommodations on the way down and back. It’s starting to be something to look forward to now. Made a little detour to Frenchy’s for cruise wear and picked up a bathing suit (discovered it was new when I got it home) skirt, dress, gym pants and a pair of American Eagle shorts which daughter # 2 assures me cool people wear. They are being washed as I type.

Laundry though has been an issue here tonight and not because it wasn’t done because it was (sort of) and I’ve been fixing up the mess ever since. It seems like it was a father and son job where one put their work clothes in the washer and the other started it but the main problem was that a box of Downey dryer sheets got dropped into the washer with the clothes. The jury is out on which one of them did which task. What a mess! The cardboard shredded and adhered to the clothes and inside the washer. How many washings do you think it will take to remove it? Well, at this point I can tell you more than three!

I did however come home to find supper cooked and ready for eating. Pasta with ‘special meat sauce’ and was it ever delicious! The working outside all day dismantling the deck of the boat in the wind chill of -30 c however took it’s toll on the chef. A sauna, shower and all of three pages of the book he’s reading and the snores drove the cats out of the bedroom. I’m sure I can manage more than three pages of choices of shore excursions or what to wear for formal night. Yeehaw!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The novella continues

You wouldn’t think I’d have any interest in doing more documentation at this hour of the night after editing (a real exercise in self flagellation if ever there was one) the final course assignment for our group - let me just say that it would REALLY discourage you from eating alfalfa sprouts again! Too much (and obviously too little) knowledge can be a problem it seems.

When a friend asked as to whether I’d been to Yarmouth today as my post of yesterday suggested I explained “no, because the roads and visibility were terrible” As to whether I’m going tomorrow I replied “you’ll have to read today’s entry” and no I’m not writing a novel but living it one chapter at a time. Variously it reads like a comedy, drama, mystery, a cry for help, sometimes a travel guide and rarely a romance.

Today I think I alarmed my travel partner by disclosing that I hadn’t actually told the life partner I had booked the cruise so I decided that situation had to be remedied. She asked if he wanted to come along too on the trip and I told her “no he’s really too preoccupied but he was making noises that we could have traveled south this year” - for about one day with his schedule - but we both decided we missed this part of our winter:

“and I can handle him being ticked off at being excluded but not whining or feeling sorry for himself as that will make me feel guilty” So this evening I indicated by travel plans and… no problem - anticipation is always the worst part of disclosure. So.. Yes, I’m off to Yarmouth to see the travel agent tomorrow afternoon with my list of newbie cruise questions, sort out the prescription snorkel mask and maybe shop for cruise wear at Frenchy’s.

As I have been attempting to type this (about 15 min.) I have had to intervene three times in feline incidents 1) Stanley stalking and attempting to ambush the dog while she slept - alerted by canine whine for help 2) Gary trying to alternately open the bifold closet doors and eat dog food out of the bag, jumping off the top of the cupboards onto the keyboard, needing to be removed from a recycling bag he had taken up residence in and finally knocking all the mail off the bookcase. Klyde has been spanked twice for sleeping on the dining room table. I often feel that I am outnumbered by felines and living in the cat section of the zoo!

Monday, March 5, 2007

A 500 km day

Well, a tired hello as it's 10 p.m. here and I have an arm long 'to do' list still. That's because I traveled to the Valley and back (500 km return) for a session on the computer system we use for patient information (a very complicated subject) with folks in my job category for three districts - many personalities, many different opinions, I'll just leave it at that shall I? I managed to squeeze in a short visit to my birthday twin (and her fur child Springer) and see her house after a quick trip to Frenchy's for cruise wear (and a hooded sweatshirt for the man of the house so he wouldn't feel left out) and then the errand running at Canadian Tire. If you say you're traveling anywhere in NS (or beyond) that man can instantly come up with an errand to be run. Today it was cartridges for his respirator (don't want anymore of those brain cells getting killed with the fiberglas resin than necessary) and waterproofing spray for the canvas vent covers for the boat which I sewed last weekend. I managed to score a suitcase from the flyer for $7 which is a wheeled carry on bag - yeehaw! That little detour put me right on track to connect with a whiteout just 20 minutes away as I hurried home - it was like the flight deck of the Star Ship Enterprise - no visibility, guessing the shoulders of the road and 60 km maximum. I was needing to be home for 8 pm.. to participate in a two hour teleconference for my online course. Arggh. Shaping up to be a great drive to Yarmouth in the a.m. - can't wait.

It's been good to hear from some blog readers and realize that my words are being read from South America, the US, western Canada and all parts of the Maritimes. Small world eh?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

March - in like a Lion

My travel partner and I had a phone chat today to go over some trip details and decided we have no trouble agreeing on the important stuff “oh Little Havana in Miami on the return would be awesome, I’ve heard so much about it” and as for travel vaccines “no, I’m not going to be paranoid about it, I’ll travel sensibly but if there’s something I can do to protect myself I’ll take it” Some discussion about tours and other plans…. Just enough to keep yourself going through the next few weeks of work and other reality programming. Tried on some summer clothes (depressing to find they’ve shrunk in the closet but not as bad as trying on bathing suits) to see what might be needed - appears a Frenchy’s run is in order.

Have finalized some travel plans for March Break and since daughter # 3 has to work the first weekend, this means the road trip to Cape Breton will have to start on Monday the 12th. 'We' have decided a ‘trip to the mall’ is in order for both of us and 'she' had decided that I need a fashion advisor if I’m shopping for clothes. The boat goes into the shop "hopefully by the end of the week" but that doesn't specify which week - as these things go - but we've invited the man of the hour along for the road trip anyway 'just in case he's free' and because with all his plans he's not going to get much of a break. He has pretty much decided against the automatic baiter but.. that doesn't mean he'll have anymore time by the second week of April (even if the reno project comes in on time - he says 2 weeks, that'll be a month) as he'll be lobstering again by then.

I’m off to the Valley tomorrow for work and hopefully a side trip to visit with my birthday twin, just a short detour as I have a teleconference tomorrow night (note to self - yes you must get your homework done missy) . Tuesday is a day to work in Yarmouth but that affords the chance while there to check in with the travel agent, pick up a suitcase on sale at Canadian Tire and find out about prescription lenses for my snorkel mask Details details.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Stingrays or Storms?

Which forecast would you choose?
This one for Nova Scotia (which we are getting and then some at present):
Winter storm warning in effect Wind warning in effect.
Snow mixed with ice pellets changing to freezing rain then to rain showers this evening and ending overnight then clearing. Snow and ice pellet amount 5 to 10 cm. Rainfall amount 5 mm. Blowing snow early this evening. Wind southeast 50 km/h gusting to 80 except 90 along the coast. Wind becoming southwest 30 overnight.

Or this one for Grand Cayman (not much of a decision is it?):

The Forecast for the Cayman Islands from this morning until tomorrow morning

is for partly sunny skies today, few clouds tonight: Showers, if any, will be brief and isolated.

Low Temperature tonight: 24 degrees Celsius / 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

High Temperature today: 31 degrees Celsius / 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dreaming about Stingray City sure helped to get through the day:

Managed to get all my course lectures reviewed after arriving
at work this morning by 7 a.m. in anticipation of the impending
storm, I was sure glad to head home that hour early - what a
mess on the roads! Can you tell that I'm supposed to be doing
my course work? I passed by the computer looking for a
calculator to work out the odds ratio on one of my test
questions and... well, here I am. Any excuse will do for a
procrastinator. Sigh.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Well it's official.... the cruise is booked! So leaving on Easter weekend I will be in the Caribbean the second week of April. It's a little later in the season than I'm used to traveling but it comes with the perk of better prices and upgrades. Now doesn't that thought make me feel better than the weather forecast for tomorrow which reads:

Cloudy. Snow at times heavy and blowing snow beginning late in the morning. Amount 10 to 15 cm. Wind becoming southeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 in the afternoon then increasing to 50 gusting to 80. High minus 2.

Doesn't that make you want to just run out and order up some more of that? NO!!!! It's much more pleasant to be making decisions such as "do you want the early or late setting for supper and would you like to be seated at a large table?" Late and yes please. Sure helped me get through the work day which had an increase in the usual insanity (maybe the predicted storm brought set everyone off) resulting in two hours of overtime and no lunch.

The travel agent is a real smoothie as far as cruise packages and she made a helpful suggestion on Miami hotels - thought it was best if we didn't end up in establishments known as crack houses - hard to argue with that eh? The mental image of two excited ladies from rural Nova Scotia with luggage in tow checking into a crack house dive near the Miami waterfront at 10 p.m. was enough to discourage any more checking online for accomodation. The agent is now in charge of searching for room at the inn. Although neither of us would be considered as backing down from a fight... we don't seek out problems (hard to wrap your head around that when you think of some of the situations we've encountered between us) It should make for an interesting enough trip without looking for trouble.

I can't say I'm a first time cruiser as I remember March Break of 1973 when I participated in a Mediterranean cruise (cost all of $400 for the 10 days) which was not as glamorous as it sounds - it was a WWII troop carrier the SS Nevasa with inedible food, cramped dorms and a Nanny to tuck us in. Anyway, enough trip musing, off to catch some sleep as due to the forecast I'm heading in early in the a.m. I have stayed overnight before in the hospital but I'm NOT planning that for tomorrow.