Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Two down and one to go

Today was another send off, this time of the summer houseguest and his hamsters at noontime. And yes baby daughter did make a reasonable enough recovery to accompany himself to the city as there wasn't much swelling this time with only one molar assaulted. There have been two urgent phone calls already this evening for what would appear to be rather important materials - his apartment keys and substantial amount of his clothes from the dryer. This speaks to the frantic nature of the departure does it not? I suggested having keys cut at a hardware store and will locate a university bound friend to send along the clothes.

I spent a bit of time on the deck today reading The Great Influenza by John M. Barry it's a really good read about the early days of microbiology, medical schools, research, infectious diseases, vaccines etc. even before you get to the flu stuff. For a few hours I almost felt like I was on vacation.

I passed the evening playing with my Family Tree Maker software which I hadn't installed until now on the laptop. This is one of those programs where you look up and several hours have passed without your realizing it. I had backed up my family tree information and it's nice to have it accessible in digital format again.

This evening is wondefully quiet (snoring from the life partner and the cats are the only distractions) and tomorrow won't become exciting until the evening when the last student to be organized and dispatched is home from the longest farewell and hopefully focused on getting herself together for Saturday's move. I may begin the transition to the TV room as the dust clears.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One down, two to go

It's only been 48 hrs since last posting after the BBQ but it sure feels longer than that with all the activity. Where to start?

Well first thing Monday it was an early (without anything to eat or drink) start for the baby daughter as we headed up to see the dental surgeon. He was described as "a real tool" by said patient after her contact, but hopefully his lack of interpersonal skills is made up for by his technical expertise. To begin with he was over an hour behind when we arrived for a 9:15 a.m. appointment. Then the cost was $820 for extracting one molar which had to be paid on the spot and billed back to the insurer, he told the patient that the surgical flap procedure (to repair the sinus communication) wasn't covered by insurance for being done in the office only in the hospital (we will see about that!) And I wasn't too impressed that the oromaxillary facial surgery clinic last year hadn't noticed this and advised me, it would also have explained the post op infection she developed. Anyhoo, the IV sedation sure made missy more pleasant than she's been in a while. One of the postives of the whole experience was a nursing school classmate was the nurse who assisted so we got caught up on all the news as the patient was being discharged.

Daughter # 2 and I headed into WalMart to pick up supplies on the 'back to school' list and left the docile dental patient napping. We managed to get the prescriptions filled, the shopping done and back before missy got too cranky. I was very grateful for the assistance as the list/post op nursing was a two person procedure. The dental patient has done very well and this is as expected because she's wanting to transport the boyfriend off to university and there were two stipulations 1) satisfactory recovery 2) no increased backtalk. The recovery is going well is all I'll say.

Last night we had the prodigal son and his girlfriend drop in for supper to see off daughter # 2 for university. Always nice to have them all around the table catching up on the news. The the two daughters decide to take the cats to the spa, nails clipped, coats brushed and shampooed - only Gary suffers this without much protest. In the middle of this the man of the house is attempting to watch a DVD movie - why with all that activity I have no idea - but he complained about the noise level of course.

Today was the send off for daughter # 2 who was fine when she got back to university but was dawdling as she wasn't keen to head out. After being a short order cook, laundress, nurse and housekeeper for about 2 hrs, I finally excused myself to the steps with the heat gun I had borrowed from a neighbour and removed paint from the auction washstand to preserve what remained of my sanity. I watched my summer neighbours in kayaks playing with their dogs in the harbour and sighed to myself 'they are retired and their kids are grown, they have earned this' while I reminded myself that envy is not a nice emotion.

After lunch daughter # 2 was encouraged to pack (somewhat - the left-behind list has grown to four items by 8 p.m. and the unpacking has hardly begun) and as we were heading out the door her father actually appeared to accompany us. With a quick stop in Yarmouth we were off to University Ste Anne in Church Point - below:

where we portered three years accumulation of 'stuff' from one residence to another before heading out to supper. If you're ever in Grosse Coques you really have to eat here at Chez Christophe, it has great food served in an Acadian homestead atmosphere:

Between us we had fish cakes (salt pollock not cod as per the locals) seafood lasange (yum) and rappie pie (both chicken and clam) which couldn't be finished and had to become a student lunch for tomorrow as mister also had seafood chowder. This place never disappoints. We left the university with lots of hugs and talk of Thanksgiving visit and stopped at Canadian Tire to window shop the end of season sales in the Garden Center.

As I settled down to begin this post at 10 p.m. the prodigal son and his girlfriend appeared and before long were cooking up hamburgers, watching movies with his sister and examining the hamsters (who are enjoying their last night here with us) while making plans for tomorrow. The only one missing is the hamster owner (our semi-permanent houseguest since June) who is off at a farewell party. As the students head out the score down and two to go.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Goodbye party

As it turned out (not as predicted) the weather was great for a goodbye party / deck warming this afternoon as the drizzle cleared, the sun came out and the breeze settled. I was thinking of including a photo of us all enjoying the burgers, dogs, salads and desserts on the new deck or perhaps the youngest nephew entertaining all his cousins and their friends but instead have opted for a shot of the star of the show where baby daughter's boyfriend is demonstrating his hula hoop techinque. The rest of us either never knew how to do this, have forgotten or are pretending we have as we don't want to hurt ourselves. Amazing he was able to do this after all the hotdogs, hamburgers and cake he put away. The guest of honor got some lovely gifts and $ which will be put to good use after the next few days.

Nice to have this event, followed by a bonfire farewell party for a classmate today as the dental surgery is the event of the day tomorrow (so much for solid food). This is beginning much earlier than the goodbye girl has been used to getting up on days off so she won't need to be sedated much. I am thrilled to not have to go in to work and it sad that even tranporting offspring for surgery is preferable.

We are in transition again as daughter # 2 has arrived, deposited her belongings and gone to stay with her sister (#1 daughter) overnight. I feel like a storage unit here and the trips are getting closer to being ticked off the list.

Friday, August 24, 2007

10 days off

Another weekend and the best part of this Friday is that it’s the beginning of a 10 off work break. You notice I’m not using the vacation word – saying farewell, organizing dental surgery, and transporting offspring to various universities is not exactly a vacation. Nice (and likely not possible) to be NOT working in my day job as this is all going on.

Vacation is something you say when you’re planning where travel miles will take you. I’ve discovered that we have enough collected through various reward programs to do four return short haul (will get you to a major gateway for a package) trips. There was also an ad in the paper saying that the new passport application process is simplified and since we need to try that out this fall we will find out.

Today was a pretty steady push to wrap things up before abandoning the workplace, about 85% of whom became very needy as they experienced anticipatory separation anxiety from a dual role practitioner. Not as bizarre as yesterday when I must share the following yarn with you. I was on the nursing unit when I was paged for an extension I wasn’t familiar with, I dialed it and a supervisor called me by name and said “ringworm” after a pause I said “pardon?” and “can you repeat that?” I was questioned as to cleaning products for a chair someone with ringworm had sat on “yes people do that” I agreed. I explained it was a (common, fairly harmless) fungus and that mould cleaner would banish it so the regular products were ok. The exchange passed from my mind until about an hour later when I heard shouting up the hall. I peeked around the corner to view one of the rather stocky cleaners purposefully heading in my direction, backed up by a smaller less assertive colleague pushing a cleaning cart bearing down on an office chair about midway down. The larger cleaner was saying in a resonating voice “now if this is going to be a regular occurrence” to which the office occupant (not to be outdone) was loudly replying “not a regular occurrence I didn’t want it to happen once!” I beat a hasty retreat, the ‘discussion’ finally settled and I noted a wet floor sign perched on the chair as I headed towards the copier. Good thing we didn’t make a big deal of it I thought.

I headed over to the nursing home to visit Mom and found a ‘social’ in progress for the baby daughter who was saying goodbye on her last day. I think she will miss the residents as they have become a large part of her these past two summers. She received a lovely flower arrangement and card signed by most of the residents. The President of the Residents Council spoke on behalf of residents and staff and advised her to “stick with it and come on back”. She’d also had Gary brought in as a show & tell activity (albeit a rather chunky one she found after conveying him about in his cat carrier) and he was placidly being shown to all the residents. He waited patiently in the car while I picked up the party supplies for the weekend BBQ and we headed home.

The hamsters are fine, thanks for asking. We are into the countdown for their safety of only six days remaining in their cat risky living conditions.

The quote of the day was on a t-shirt worn by a woman I followed in the grocery store which read…Well behaved women rarely make history. Ain’t it the truth?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Of decks and Hurricane Dean

First of all it is important to document the ta dah.....completion of the deck project. When I arrived home this afternoon thinking I would have to paint something, instead it was all done, tools put away and furniture out. It has turned out really well and despite being the longest running show since Bonanza, it is still great. I tried out the deck chair to catch the last few rays. Almost as good as settling into the wicker chair / footstool with my library book in the sunshine with complete silence and two cats napping near my feet. Ambrosia. Reminded me of the quote I read (before I nodded off) in the book "the only symptom of empty nest syndrome is increased smiling" . One of my colleagues at work corrected the question when someone asked me if I would be suffering empty nest syndrome - "suffering is not the word you're looking for" she said, "you mean enjoying".

I did a short search about Hurricane Dean as when I read the paper today there was a small article about Costa Maya and Mahajual where we visited in April. Here are a couple of the stories and some more links. The most amazing thing is that the one mile cruise ship pier has been reduced to rubble. Good thing we visited when we did.

From the AP wire service

Dean became the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in
recorded history when it plowed into the Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday as a
ferocious Category 5 storm. It toppled trees, power lines and houses — but
spared glitzy resorts on the Mayan Riviera...
"It wasn’t minutes of terror. It was hours," said Catharine Morales, 30, a
native of Montreal who has lived in Majahual for a year. "The walls felt like
they were going to explode."

Morales weathered the storm in her new brick-walled house with her husband and
seven-month-old daughter, Luna. Dean blew out the windows and pulled pieces
from their roof.

But they fared better than most: Hundreds of homes in the Caribbean town of
Majahual collapsed as Dean crumpled steel girders, splintered wooden structures
and washed away about half of the immense concrete dock that transformed the
sleepy fishing village into Mexico’s second-busiest cruise ship destination.

The storm surge covered almost the entire town in waist-deep sea water, said
fishermen Jorge Gonzalez, 29. He found refuge in the back room of a beachfront
store whose steel security curtains were blown out, and had to help his dog
Camilo keep his head above the rising tide.

"There came a moment when I thought this was the end," Gonzalez said.

Hurricane knocks out Costa Maya for at least six months
News is starting to trickle out of Costa Maya, the fast-growing Mexican cruise
port walloped Tuesday by Hurricane Dean, and it's not good. After surveying the
damage, officials say the port could be out of action for at least six months,
maybe more.

Cesar Lizarraga, the area's director of sales and marketing, says in a
statement that about half of the port's infrastructure, including the cruise
ship pier, was damaged. Lizarraga didn't elaborate on the nature of the damage,
but says that "an early estimate indicates the port will remain closed for six
to eight months" for repairs. The cost, he added, will be in the millions.

Lizarraga says Costa Maya officials are currrently meeting with cruise lines
that use the port to discuss the future. But it could be some time before ships
return. In a hint of just how bad the damage is, Lizarraga mentioned "mid-2008"
as a timetable for when ships might be back to the sunny locale.

Carved out of the jungle along the Yucatan coast just six years ago, Costa Maya
has grown from nothing to become of the most visited ports in the Western
Caribbean. The man-made beach area offers bars, restaurants, shops and
entertainment, as well as excursions to nearby Mayan ruins.
Must run and hit the hay so I'm ready for my LAST DAY before vacation. Yeehaw.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Three more days until vacation

Today at work was sandwiched between pre and post employment chores. I headed up early to run errands so picked up four plastic chairs for the table/umbrella set and gyproc holders for screws to mount the washboard scored at the auction, a new cutting blade for the scrapbooking trimmer, and a package of recordable CDs. Work itself was bearable (just) and I left early. The reverse trip was grocery orientated as baby daughter had ordered up supper and since she only has a few of those left, I obliged.

Arriving home I began my staining duties. Mercifully the deck is almost finished with only stairs and an enclosure around the tree which has been left to grow up through. The thinking is that we may be able to have a round table with seats (as in Tom and Betty and Flip on Cherry Street) someday. I am determined to NOT get into a post retirement routine of working with the man I am married to. I told him today I don't need a) someone to supervise /instruct me b) someone to watch me c) I don't need to watch someone when they take over from me as I work. If any of these situations occur I can find plenty of other tasks to do. He is such a particular control freak he would make a good surgeon (except for being incredibly squeamish) as he fussed over every little spot. When he was checking out the design from the house later he called me in to the bathroom to show me how the planks on the deck line up so my suggestion is that should you ever find yourself at our house, please make your way to the bathroom and gaze upon the deck. When I told him he'd done a good job he says "it's almost a work of art". When I reminded him that I'd predicted the deck would be finished for the BBQ (at the time of my prophecy it was almost a month away) and he says "well I didn't expect so many interruptions" I told him that I wasn't as concerned that he got interrupted as I'd expected that but that he was surprised by it. He did finally admit I was right in my timing of predictions.

I couldn't find Stanley who is baby daughter's kitten when I came home this afternoon. I tried cat treats (which the other two felines loved) and searching. I accused the deck carpenter of losing him etc. Finally I noticed the cat carrier wasn't here oh...Stanley has gone to the Manor to entertain the residents. As his owner said "it's great that he's slow and good natured as he visits everyone and they love him" So he had a fine afternoon being the center of attention.

I noticed the dog finally had a new clip and piece of rope on her run today. The carpenter tells me that one of our summer neighbours brought her back (again) yesterday as she'd headed over to see their canines. This is three escapes in less than two weeks and twice after I'd firmly advised him to change the clip. This clip is as big as her ear, no more field trips for her for a bit.

The last flurry of activities is ongoing here with cleaning / packing / errands by baby daughter and preparing for daughter # 2 to visit for a few days then head out. Not even time to finish my library book and a new one I ordered from Abebooks - wonderful site for used/rare books if you haven't tried them you should check them out. The package which arrived today held The Great Influenza by John M. Barry which was printed in 2004 it's about the flu of 1918 and looks riveting will just have to wait a bit, not as far as retirement but at least until I get into my official time off - only three more sleeps till I start vacation.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Can't get my feet down

The only ones enjoying the fact you can't get your feet down in this house are the three 'kitty boys' as they are known here. They'll have to investigate new roosts if the universtity student gets packed, her contributions to the New 2 U get delivered, the camping gear gets put away, the tools finally make their way back to the barn, and the furniture refinishing tool gets purchased. This is a considerable list of ifs not likely to be resolved in one day. Sigh. If the cleaning lady calls to say she's coming on Friday as expected there will some very last minute scurrying on the part of family members who have had their attention (and motivation) sucked in by the TV. You wouldn't think looking at these guys sleeping (much like children) that they are capable of attempting to open hamster cages (exactly what Gary was doing) when the bedroom door was inadvertently left open momentarily last evening. At the very least the poor hamsters will have heart attacks.

It is almost unbelievable that even though we haven't had much summer yet...there is a frost warning in low lying areas tonight with the temperature down to 3 c. There is a definite autumn feeling in the air. As a colleague at work said today "fall is a perfectly nice season but I'm just not ready to let go of summer yet". I was listening to the sirius radio on the Margaritaville station (Jimmy Buffett) yesterday because yes I am a parrot head and ok with admitting it. Jimmy and Alan Jackson were singing 'It's 5 o'clock Somewhere' and when the lyrics were I'm gettin' paid by the hour and older by the minute it sure made me think of work on the weekend - which I really dislike doing. One of these years I will indulge my fantasy and attend a Jimmy Buffett concert in Key West or somewhere. The deck is almost finished (and will be in time for the farewall for baby daughter BBQ on Sunday) but there hasn't been any enjoying of it yet this year. Sigh. Another hour or so spent staining this afternoon after work so I'm getting closer.

I had word that a friend is able to make it to the writing workshop being held the weekend of September 7 - 9 at Camp Wapemeo outside of Yarmouth. I was planning on attending anyway but this will make the weekend even more fun. And to think her only hesitation was that she was leaving for rug hooking school the next week and had 'homework' to do. That kind of post retirement talk is enough to get yourself hurt in this household!

I'm off to the district facility tomorrow so hopefully I can leave early enough to work on the painting in the afternoon. Rain predicted for later in the week so it has to be done now. I need to investigate 26 hr. days.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Weekend weather excitement

The weekend wrap up from all the excitement before I have to head back to the salt mines:

I was up early and off to the auction on Saturday morning – better than doing housework or arguing with teenagers. The weather was predicted as showers in the morning and clearing well….talk about a weather bomb. Things started off fine with viewing, making a wish list, then settling into my folding chair as the action started. The good thing about an auction in Clyde River is that the Busy Bees were holding down the canteen duties so you know you’re going to have a good lunch and they didn’t disappoint – sausage with diet root beer and a yummy cinnamon bun for dessert. I managed to score a few boxes of goodies (or junk depending on who is describing the find) a glass washboard, a large tote for camping gear, a washstand for pitcher and bowl and a basket. It’s always a good chance to visit with the locals anyway. Then the rain started (thank goodness for the tent enclosure they had up) followed by thunder and lightening. When a bolt hit the air above the microphone headset of the auctioneer and blew out the light bulb on the porch a recess was called. I had already decided to head on home with my loot but I had to wait for a break in the weather. The delay extended as the rain poured down then the temperature dropped and the wind came up like a twister. When the local fire departments began responding to a lightening strike across the river I decided I’d had enough for one outing. I loaned my tarps to a colleague from work who needed to get a sofa and chairs transported, managed to pay for and locate all of my soggy purchases and head on home.

As I was dragging my goodies into the house I noticed out the window that one of our summer neighbours boat was capsized in the water so I phoned. No answer, they were still at the auction. Called the other summer neighbour, she says that her boat broke off the mooring and came ashore, cracking the bottom and she’s pulled it up on the shore. So we head over attempt to rescue the capsized boat – no luck, as the ropes are full of seaweed. As I pull into the driveway I notice that the man of the house has arrived home so we relate the marine disasters and all three of us head back to first put the cracked boat up on the lawn at neighbour # 1 then over to the capsized boat where the shore captain waded in almost to his neck to disentangle the boat and we pulled it in to shore. Somehow it had collected water inside the hull and the lining and it weighed if not a ton, at least close to that. We just made it to the house as it started to rain again (wouldn’t want to get wet ha ha) and it sure felt good to light the propane fireplace and veg out.

Today was spent doing laundry – first fine weather day in several and …on the deck and if you envision lying out on a lounge chair reading a novel not…it meant cleaning up all the wood scraps, sweeping and vacuuming the sawdust and painting the exposed surfaces of the edges. Mercifully I ran out of stain and so was able to move on to other household chores. Tonight we had a visit from daughter # 1 for supper followed by scrapbooking with her sister.

Hamsters? They’re still surviving although I’m not sure I’d wager how long as two of the felines have discovered their presence and wait patiently outside the bedroom door for someone to forget and leave it open for them to slip in. So now I am forced to think about going back to work as I’m out of other diversions.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday's feel so good

As you can see by the photo on the right the PROJECT is slowly taking shape. I am certain that when the stage was assembled for the Rolling Stones concert on the Commons last fall in Halifax there was less planning required. This thing has taken on a life of it's own. It's not often that someone would welcome precipitation but because it rained today I was spared the painting after work ordeal. Actually rain is an understatement as we had some wild weather last night. Had to be if it woke me up. The thunder and lightening were + + intense with heavy rain for several hours. Apparently there were 2500 hits across the province. The power was temporarily out here but for various lengths of time locally. And just as I'd finally settled back to sleep the shore captain's alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. as he'd headed over to the wharf and forgotten to turn it off. Now the confusion of trying to figure out what the noise was and how to turn it off was overwhelming. Short night followed by icky day at work. The final straw was when the photocopier ate my work twice 15 minutes before the end of the day and the second time I yelled arrghh loudly so the receptionist across the hall in Mental Health sprinted out and said with a grin "do you need mental help assistance?" which I'm guessing is her standard line. I assured her I most certainly do and that the copier is the least of my worries lately! She was relieved to find out I wasn't going to copy anything else after she got me sorted out.

Work related stressors in part caused me to impulsively stop off at friends on the way home to decompress. Had a nice visit and a cup of tea and was half ways civilized to enter the house an hour late.

But tomorrow has a forecast of showers (non painting day) and there is a local auction. Here's the link:
I have limited myself the past couple of years from attending auctions and yard sales due to the downsizing but the excuse this time is to check out a needed bureau for daughter # 1. If nothing looks promising I'll be home early and anyway it's always a chance to catch up on the local news. The rule is that something has to go if I'm going to bring something new into the house so planning is required. Will keep you posted.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This place is a zoo

Today was an unbelievable circus at work - it is hard to believe there are that many unhappy people in one place. Enough said. I decided to take 15 minutes for lunch in the middle of various nervous breakdowns by various players and went to the cafeteria (before it closed) to find there wasn’t any food left so bought 50 cents worth of coleslaw and decided to go outside to the picnic table for some solitary time. Things went along well until I attempted to go back inside and the door was locked so I had to skitter down over the steep hill (no Jack n Jill tumbles thank goodness) to the front door of the facility and back upstairs.

To add to the enjoyment of the day I had a call from the dental surgeon’s office arranging to extract baby daughter’s molar (which was realigned last year and now has a huge cavity due in large part to her high sugar diet I’m sure) at a cost of $520 which must be paid upfront and then claimed on insurance. We arranged the date for when missy is finished work and I am off - good way to spend my vacation eh?

This place is a zoo or more correctly this place is a farm! Yes, that is a photo of a golden hamster you are looking at. I couldn’t bring myself to open the door to the bedroom and actually photograph the two - count em TWO hamsters who have come to (temporarily) live here. The future son-in-law of daughter # 3 apparently has purchased them to live with him and his brother in the apartment while they are at university so the rodents are on vacation in the country until the big move. I can’t understand how the ‘no pets’ rule which meant he couldn’t take Stanley (the cat missy brought home last year who now has to stay with his grandparents for 4 yrs until she graduates) to the apartment doesn’t extend to hamsters. Now I explained in no uncertain terms that three cats + 2 hamsters does not = 2 hamsters. I was assured that the door to the bedroom would always be closed, that the cats really like them (I’m sure they do - yum) and that the cats were shown the hamsters last night (brains with hair on it as the local saying goes) and weren’t interested. How that explains the 3 cats sitting outside the closed bedroom door looking at it when I came home tonight I’m not sure. I have made it plain that I am not hamster sitting, the cage must be kept clean etc. but I’m sure I’m whistling in the wind. It’s not that I mind hamsters, it’s just that we really don’t need another mammal in this house.

I headed out of the office, dropped daughter # 3 at her second job and began grocery shopping (it was pay day). A woman who I remembered as a few years younger than me nodded as I entered the doors and I nodded back then turned to the vegetables thinking of her mother who had been a patient years ago. A few moments later she was at my elbow and said “I always mean to come and speak to you when I see you so today I’m going to. I wanted to tell you how much it meant to all of us that you were there with Mom when she died. I think of it every time I see you but we never say these things like we should do we? Do you remember it?” Oh do I ever. Her mother suffered a cardiac arrest when I was doing a venipuncture at home and I did 45 minutes of CPR in front of her family while we waited for the ambulance. I will never forget that day. We spoke for a few moments about how her mother didn’t suffer but went very quickly, how everything that could be done was done, and how badly I had felt for the family and how upset I’d been as well. As she turned to leave she said “we were so grateful for everything you did” That statement - 35 years after I made the decision to become a nurse - explains why I have never really regretted it.

Today as I drove home into the yard I was followed by one of my summer neighbours who had kindly taken in our errant dog and returned her when she went to visit her canine neighbours Jake and Buddy. Apparently the promise of a new clip installed by the carpenter was superseded by deck building. She was still up for a walk but it was me who really needed to be walked today as I had hit the wall.

The most disappointing part was that I had to call the cleaning lady and postpone to next week - why? Well because the front entryway is full of power and hand tools, sawdust and boxes. The baby daughter’s bedroom, hall and dining room are full of boxes, bags and various articles not packed for moving. The den is full of camping gear, future son-in-laws suitcases, bags etc. and there are no surfaces for her to clean. I had trouble choking those words out though on the phone - it grieved me.

Tomorrow is Friday, an auction on Saturday - very therapeutic and only one day forecast as a 'painting' day so there is hope.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Imagine if you were sleeping after being up all night and all of a sudden found yourself transported inside a strange structure and then...loud screaming! This is what happened today to an unsuspecting brown bat. I had left the clothes out on the line overnight - what else do people who work days do? This afternoon I brought one basketful of clothes in and set it on my bed, I was just getting ready to dump the contents onto the bed and head out for another load when I noticed something brown on top of the clothes. At first I thought 'a mouse - how did it get in the basket?' and then I saw those wings and it came to me....
...a bat!!! An ear piercing scream followed (which likely confused the bat's sonar) and I summoned the perplexed looking carpenter (wondering what was going on) from his deck work to do bat removal. He covered, then carried the bat out in the basket and it took off immediately across the yard to a nearby tree - likely to warn the other bats. We found one small turd on top of the basket which I'm sure I scared out of it with the screaming. Good thing the cats were napping or there could have been tragic bat consequences. I am thrilled that we didn't wake to find a bat in the bedroom and unsure if we'd been bitten have to report it to Public Health because the investigation requires you disclose an accurate weight as the rabies immune globulin is a per kg. dose. Talk about tragic consequences.

After my nerves settled, I managed to get some deck staining done before the weather changed and it's really coming together. Should be completed no problem for the 26th - as usual the carpenter/life partner is vowing it will be done this weekend. We'll see. At any rate it will be a nice area to have a BBQ in whenever it's finished.

The bat almost overshadowed all my positive vibes from doing the PowerPoint training this morning. I was most honored to be the only participant so was tutored and felt extra special. The computer in the training lab was being cranky (computers often act that way for me) but otherwise it was great. I learrned a lot of shortcuts, extra tips and good design ideas. I will definitely be playing with that program. Now I'm ready to tackle my cruise speaking presentations. Daughter # 2 suggested that I add fishing schooners to my list of topics (excellent idea my dear) and I just need at least one more subject. The research is the fun part.

Must head to bed as tomorrow is already shaping up to be a humdinger and it's 10 hrs. away. Mind you, it is pay day so it has that to recommend it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fish and more fish

Well as you can see today was a day the life partner chased boats. Here are two photos the first of the Kylie Ann on it's way into Smithsville Wharf with about 14,000 lbs of groundfish. The other is the Captain and the #1 son getting ready to unload the full hold. It's not often we get photos but I instructed the shore captain to take the camera when I heard the landings were going to be good. This is quite close to capacity for this vessel after the retrofit of this winter, no wind thank goodness. The photos will be good to use in my PowerPoint presentation on the fishery.

This morning started off first thing with a call from baby daughter in Fredericton asking for assistance in finding her student number. No she hadn't taken her student ID with her but now she was attempting to get her ID activated so she could pick up her laptop. She was less than patient with me as I attempted to log into the university site under her instructions - as if it was me who had driven 7 hrs to another province only to forget one of the main things I needed. Finally I located the number and she was off to deal with her crisis on her own. And to think she used to be the organized one.

Today at work I was having difficulty concentrating due to the beautiful weather. Definitely one of those times when you wish you had an outdoor job, or were on vacation, or were retired. I've decided that when I retire I'm going to do more of some things and less of others. As in:

I'm going to do more:

I'm going to do less:
errands for others

I'm off to the district site tomorrow a.m. for PowerPoint training - can't wait. I can feel the presentations getting closer. I'm planning on presenting on lobstering, fishing, NS Duck Tolling Retrievers, Cape Island boatbuilding, and...I just have to think of topics for two more talks. My problem is that it can't be about anything from my work as it's all either too boring or frightening for cruise ship passengers.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stung or bitten?

Well, back to work was easier than being a carpenter’s helper - at least by a nose. The activity level rose and fell like the tide. Today was my baby sister’s birthday and she was in Halifax so only got an email greeting on the big occasion.

One of the Dr. at work was being asked to refer an elderly gentleman for a psychiatric assessment and he asked why? When it was suggested it was because of ‘behaviors’ meaning the gentleman had been ‘getting into trouble’ the Dr. suggested that this was because “he doesn’t like it here” I cautioned him that if ‘behaviors’ got you assessed he had best watch himself. He’s always been one of those physicians who questions the system (a good thing) which has earned him a reputation for being ‘somewhat difficult’ After a few minutes he says “could the psyche assessment be done by someone who speaks English?” “No, no” he protested “I’m not being racist it’s just that he’s an elderly, hard of hearing, confused man and how accurate is the assessment if he doesn’t understand the questions?” I advised him that all this common sense was getting him into trouble.

I managed to make it home this afternoon even though in the confusion of switching vehicles I was without glasses. This switch was because the baby daughter had headed out to Fredericton in my car as she has a suicide intervention course which must be completed before clinical begins. She has ordered her laptop (a MacBook) from the campus computer store and is planning to pick it up as well.

When I arrived home from work I discovered that Keely had (again) gotten stung by some kind of insect. A few years ago she was stung several times over the course of the summer and we said “dumb dog jumping on bees” but come to find out she had a hornet’s nest IN her doghouse. So today, the carpenter was called away from his duties to check her house first (nope no nest) before we sent her back out there. She must’ve been snuffing around in the bee attracting flowers and been a target. She looks like Igor but doesn’t seem to notice what’s wrong. Kind of like the kids when they were small and had some kind of injury, as long as they didn’t look in the mirror everything was fine.

A couple of hours of staining planks which had been moved to the barn pending the predicted precipitation and so I’m gaining. Likely another few evening spent in such artistic endeavors before I see much headway being made. Part of the back wall is up to give some shape to the structure -looks like a village square to me at this point - but what would I know -that’s why I don’t get to make the design decisions.

Now I close with a story which ran on the front page of the Chronicle Herald today - can you believe that I live in a part of the world with practical jokers like these?

Take shark, insert leg, stir up excitement - Fisherman’s artificial-limb joke taken seriously by officials

It could have been the most gruesome catch of the day ever reported in waters off Nova Scotia.

But thankfully, a report that a person’s leg had been found inside a shark hauled up on Georges Bank by a southwestern Nova Scotia fishing boat turned out to be as artificial as the appendage.

"It turned out to be an artificial leg," RCMP Cpl. Joe Taplin said Sunday evening.

The shark didn’t have the leg in its jaws when it was caught. Instead, somebody on board the vessel Sarah & Dillion took off his own leg prosthesis and popped it into the dead shark’s mouth.

People on board took pictures and, somehow, a neighbouring skipper got the wrong idea.

He reported the discovery of the leg to the coast guard at about 11 a.m. and officials immediately arranged for one of their vessels to go pick up the catch.

Sources said the coast guard asked the fishermen to try to preserve the leg by putting it on ice. They also asked about any distinguishing clothing on the appendage and whether they could identify if it had belonged to a male or female.

"It turned out to be a high-seas joke," Cpl. Taplin said.

But it was also a time-consuming one.

The coast guard spent about seven hours to get out to the boat after the neighbouring vessel called in the report, and its American counterpart was also on high alert about the discovery, he said.

The RCMP’s major crime unit had also been notified and the medical examiner was on standby awaiting the leg’s return to shore.

"You have to err on the side of caution," Cpl. Taplin said.

Police on both sides of the border had already started researching files to track who the person might be.

"You start looking at missing-people files . . . from people who might have gone missing near the coastline," he said.

Despite the time logged on a Sunday by authorities in several jurisdictions, the corporal doesn’t believe charges will be laid in the unusual situation.

"There was no ill intent (by) the actual fishermen who were on the boat. This was relayed by another boat to the coast guard."

However, coast guard officials will rendezvous with the RCMP to discuss how the call was made to them.

Sanford Atwood, skipper of the Ocean Legend, said he reported the incident.

He said he never saw the shark or the leg but spoke to the skipper of the Sarah & Dillion, a vessel out of Clark’s Harbour that had apparently pulled both aboard.

"I guess it was a joke," Mr. Atwood said Sunday, speaking on his cellphone from his boat.

"It was an artificial leg. I called it in because I took it as the truth."

The Ocean Legend was one of several vessels long-lining for groundfish about 10 hours off Nova Scotia’s western coast in the Georges Bank area. Mr. Atwood said all the boats were hooking sharks.

"In my fishing career, 40-odd years on Georges, I never heard tell of a shark having a human leg in its mouth before," he said.

Cpl. Taplin was relieved that no one had met an untimely end inside a shark.

"That was the first time (we’ve) had something so bizarre transpiring," he said.

"I was already trying to figure out what I had to do tomorrow for it, trying to get my speaking notes together because this was definitely a different one."

A spokesman for the coast guard was releasing little information, only confirming that the agency was working with the RCMP on the matter.

With Brian Medel, Yarmouth Bureau

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Working weekend

What a busy (and productive) weekend this has been. Reminds me of last summer when we were finishing and moving into the house and I felt like I had to go back to work to get a rest. We’ve had a break from construction though since last year this time so it really is time to get on with the list.

Friday I arrived home to find that the cleaning lady had visited. I’m guessing she wasn’t much more than through the door when she realized I’d forgotten or she forgot to tell me which day she was coming. As ridiculous as it sounds there is cleaning required before the cleaning lady arrives and no it’s not because I don’t want her to see the dirt but because she has to have surfaces to clean.

Not as nice as the surprise that daughter #1 provided when she arrived with supper almost done, finished it up and she, her Dad and I had a scrumptious meal. We had marinated pork chops, couscous salad, potato salad and frozen yogurt with blueberry sauce for dessert. Yum. At any rate that was a very nice wrap up to an iffy week at work.

Saturday was spent in the gulag (as my summer neighbour calls it) while I stained deck planks for the patio being built beside the side of the house. The foreman didn’t arrive until 7 p.m. due to fish issues so I did get a bit ahead of the construction schedule. Sunday was a repeat except that the foreman was on site cracking the whip. It did help quite a bit with my motivation when he computed the labour as $5000 for a comparable project for his plant secretary, which the contractor who had built our house had done. He is definite that the structure will be done 'by this weekend' but I'll settle for the 26th when we're having a Bon Voyage BBQ for the baby daughter.

I was disappointed to miss attending the writing group meeting but there are just so many hours in the day. I told myself that since the deck is being guaranteed (by the foreman) to last 30 years this won’t be the excuse again. This weekend was one of the warmer ones we’ve had this summer so even with the sunscreen there was some lotion required on pink backs this evening.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Retirement from what?

Thinking about retirement (and this is a favorite pastime of mine) means that I have to consider what I would retire from. Meaning would I just retire from the paid work I have or would I be able to jettison some of the other job descriptions? For example my domestic duties…today I worked my 7.5 hr shift at my day job but beginning my ‘second shift’ I stopped at the grocery store then headed home to a) wash and hang out three loads of laundry b) bake brown bread c) make supper d) paint two hours on the deck the in-house carpenter is constructing d) unload and reload the dishwasher e) take the dog for a walk. This list doesn’t include any interaction with offspring (and their attendants) the care plan meeting I attended at the nursing home for my mother (draining) or other ‘duties as assigned’ as the collective agreement would state.

When I asked one of the Care Coordinators at work if an elderly lady I needed to call was up early she said “no, she told me any time after 0930 hrs would be good for a bath visit“. To which I agreed as I told the Care Coordinator that when I am an old lady with blue hair I am NOT getting up before 9 a.m. and no one had better try and make me! This early morning stuff is something I have to do at present as gainfully employed but it is not my natural biorhythms.

Your quote for the day was one I found in a magazine this morning at work “Today I wish for you a day of ordinary miracles” Difficult to top that eh? And much more uplifting than this link:

about ‘Texas Redneck Games’ which include the ugly "butt-crack contest" amongst other topics. Makes one feel positively refined in comparison.

I am working through my list and this evening I got my publicity photo and bio together to forward to an agent. Have to get myself organized and put together a presentation for my ‘audition’ by September (my self imposed deadline) as that’s only a few weeks away.

As I was researching ‘how to care for your laptop’ today I found this helpful (but not doable in my world) information and I quote.....It is recommended not to use the notebook computer on a carpet or near hairy house hold pets as this can clog the air vents with fibers and hairs. Well there goes my warranty.

Since tomorrow is Friday it seems I have (almost) survived the week. It was dicey at times.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

In laptop heaven

Can you guess what I’m typing this post on? You got it – my new (to me) laptop!!! I traveled to the district facility yesterday for work and boy did I ever – you can only imagine the leftover craziness after a long weekend. But it was sure nice to finish up my day by picking up the Toshiba laptop. The tech had wiped it clean, burned a backup copy of the operating system and they even threw in a mouse and a nice laptop bag. Talk about having connections, I felt so special. I couldn’t wait to get home and play with my new toy.

But first there was supper to make (for four) as the prodigal son had returned and he and the girlfriend had crashed on the couch as he’d been baiting trawl all night to catch up. Then a dog walk, the return of daughter #3 from taking residents to the Exhibition parade and then off again to retrieve the boyfriend – grand central station. Not at all what I imagine (all that I can do at this point) empty nest syndrome to be.

In the midst of all these distractions, I managed to install my copy of Microsoft Office – how else am I to do my awesome PowerPoint presentations for the cruise speaking? Then I got connected online and got the digital camera program operational. All of this meant excavating the CDs, passwords etc. But I hit the wall when it came to tweaking the virus checker. After churning for three hours to download an update from the painfully slow dialup and then being told it was an hour more to complete (at midnight) I gave up, packed the computer away and took it to work today begging the tech to assist. It was simply a matter of high-speed access and it was ticking away within 5 minutes.

That was one of the more positive aspects of work today; in fact it may have been the only one. Today was NOT a good day. In part because I was covering for everyone else in my team within the district but also because there were lots of rotten things going on. Exhausting is the description that comes to mind.

One of the more exciting announcements today though was of the four LPN positions in the Emergency Department. I was most pleased (and not in the least surprised) that a loyal blog reader was one of the successful candidates. This will be a good move (a change as good as a rest and all that) and the view will be better from down there – not as chronic a patient population as the nursing unit. I was thrilled to find a bouquet of carnations on the door when we came home from work. I had convinced daughter # 3 that her boyfriend had left flowers for her – who else but a teenager I thought – but it was from the successful candidate – for me! All this for just writing an honest reference.

My excitement at finding the carnations was dimmed by the realization that my fur daughter had slipped her clip and was off her run. So a yard search, then calling in the rain and phoning the neighbours in case she showed up. About an hour later one of my summer neighbours let me know she’d headed over there to visit her canine friend Beazley. I headed over with the leash, no, not in the car I had an idea of what a mess she was in and I was right. She’d obviously been for a swim in the harbour before she headed out socializing and was now dripping in the rain. So we stood out of the monsoons in the barn and got caught up on the news before heading home.

So another evening of playing with the technology and avoiding housework – how decadent. I told the techs they were responsible for my bad habits. I am visualizing retirement as an extension of my decadence.

Monday, August 6, 2007

One more sleep until the laptop

Well, back to work tomorrow (ugh) but at least I’ve had a nice long weekend to return from. We’ve had some beautiful summer weather but as per usual in August the season has turned and the temperatures drop very quickly in the evening. I refuse to think of fall yet.

Instead of leaving directly from work the phone call from the camping partner at 3 p.m. instructed me to ‘come on home anyway’ meaning that a) he wouldn’t be responsible if anything were forgotten b) there would be two of us doing the tasks so we wouldn’t be as late as if he were solo c) I would be free to do at least ½ of the tasks as I’d gotten everything ready the night before thinking we were leaving from work. So….I drove ½ hr home, assisted with preparations and then we drove ½ hr. back past work, not leaving until 5:30 p.m. meaning we arrived at the campground 2 hours later. Mind you without the group tenting set up required for our family of six it was much quicker getting organized and supper underway for the two of us. When I suggested it was ’weird’ camping without the kids as it’d been over 25 yrs since we’d gone on our own the camping partner took umbrage with my descriptor and suggested ‘different’ or ‘nice’ as a substitute. By the time darkness fell we couldn’t even manage to stay awake to read - talk about senior campers!

Saturday was a nice day where the fog hung off shore so we headed into Mahone Bay for the Classic Boat Festival. It has been a while since we’d attended and will likely be a while again as we found it had become very commercialized and really just a party for the boaters. There are other things to do though, check it out:

We did manage to visit some of the shops, markets and displays in Mahone Bay in our best yuppie impersonations. The highlight of the day was a lovely lunch with daughter # 1 and her friend who joined us on the deck of one of the cafes. We had a great supper with all our fresh market produce and had to go for a walk to wear off the excess. The campground is very well set up on the ocean but with separate camp sites separated by wooded areas.

Sunday was a day to pack up and head back leisurely back home along the scenic route through the shore route. This meant taking the LaHave cable ferry across and here is a post outlining why it is a good idea to leave the 100 series highways:

LaHave Ferry: The LaHave cable ferry crosses the river between LaHave and East LaHave every half-hour. A ferry has operated at this location since 1832 and offers a wonderful view of both shores up and down the riverbank. Keep your eyes open for all kinds of sea and shorebirds, including bald eagles and ospreys which are known to nest in the area.

After stopping for a great lunch of fresh from the oven Greek pizza and blueberry cinnamon rolls at the LaHave bakery - enjoyed on the deck in the sunshine - it was time to move on. That's the interior view you see to the right - funky. They also have a craft gallery, skateboard factory and shipyard repair. It's been on the go as long as we've been traveling the area for three decades (was a bakery boat along the shore first) and the original hippies are now grandparents of the skateboard creator.

We stopped at the Petite Riviere winery after multiple attempts to locate it and picked up a red and a white wine. It’s a beautiful location which would make you think you were in Tuscany with the stucco building on the side of the vineyard bordered with herb gardens. I'm including the link here so you can see for yourself:

By the time we'd arrived home and I’d made a start on the laundry and the shore captain headed over the wharf it was as if we’d never been away. How easy it is to slip into the domestic routine eh? But we were surprised by a message from daughter # 2 saying she and her friend were down at the friend’s cottage for the holiday weekend so they dropped over for supper. What a nice surprise!

Today was filled with more domestic chores, a visit from one of my summer neighbours to discuss vacation planning, dragging all the frozen food up over the hill to the deepfreeze, cleaning the fridge freezer and a service call for the refrigerator, with now what feels like carpal tunnel from four hours of staining the underpinnings of the deck mister is creating. There’s still the second half of the creation and all the planks to stain. Sigh.

So tomorrow is a trip to the district facility as it was supposed to be an orientation day but… that’s been cancelled as there was a small group however I’d made plans to go for other causes and now am committed. The picking up of the laptop will make the trip worthwhile though. I'm already scheming about stories I'll be able to write on that little number.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Camping - can't wait

Here it is almost another weekend and a three day one at that as we have the August civic holiday at work. It’s a good thing as the first week back after a vacation is always hectic and this one sure met that description as I’m covering for two others in the team - in fact this next three weeks will see me do that so I won’t feel guilty when I take the last week of August off to move daughters to university in two different directions.

Tomorrow after work we (we defined as just the Mr and Mrs) are going camping. This will be the first time in 25 years we’ve been camping without kids so it’s kind of like full circle. We’re headed to Graves Island provincial park in Chester, here’s the link to check:

It’s a nice little park we’ve looked at but never stayed in. We’re taking in the Mahone Bay Classic Boat Festival on Saturday and will head back Sunday p.m. as boats will be leaving to go fishing. I will still have Monday to decompress (and likely clean up from camping) so nice to not have to head directly back into the workplace.

Today I got one step closer to my ‘speaking on cruises’ plan when I noticed the computer tech down to work at our site asked about laptops. He suggested I ask to buy a surplus one from work. He tells me that the Toshiba laptops which are about 3 years old are regularly sold off for what’s remaining in the lease (about $300) and you just have to ask, they work great and many folks are still using them. Some have very few hours on them as they are used as a secondary computer only for traveling. The IT manager was working at our site today so I almost twisted my ankle getting down the hall to ask. He directed one of the techs to ‘pick a good one out of the pile’ and get it ready for me for when I head up to the district facility on Tuesday. Yeehaw! I have a training session for PowerPoint presentations booked on the 15th so I’m going to get my presentations polished up.

When I was looking up a medication online I came across the term cyberchondriac which is defined as someone who searches online for symptoms and diagnosis. It’s now thought that 90% of patients have looked online for information which they use in questioning their physician.

I was visiting on the nursing unit at work and two of the Registered Nurses were telling me that their self esteem was suffering. One mentioned that a patient was complaining of some symptoms and when the RN and daughter were trying to figure out the problem she says to her daughter “don’t tell her, she doesn’t know, go tell a nurse”. The other RN said she understood as the day before she was standing at the medication cart preparing medications and another patient called out “can you get me a nurse please?” to which she replied “I am a nurse, can I help?” to which the patient replied “no, I mean a real one”. Talk about being bad for your ego eh?

Better than the little lady I found weeping in the lounge as she is waiting to go to a nursing home. I did my best to convince her how much better it would be at the Manor, all the social activities etc. and she occasionally let her guard slip and showed interest in some detail but kept maintaining she wasn’t going to enjoy it. She finally said “I’m not going to like it there because I don’t want my family to see me happy” One of her visitors was shocked but I told them she was being honest at least and still had enough spunk to keep on fighting.

Well only one more sleep until it's tent sleeping - can't wait. Insect repellent - check, sunscreen - check, rain jacket - check. You name it, I'm prepared! Just thinking about being able to camp whenever the weather cooperated instead of days off makes retirement even more delicious.