Saturday, December 26, 2009

Feliz Navidad to us!

Happy Boxing Day and I trust all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas. We had our Christmas morning, present opening today as daughter # 2 and fiance arrived from the city and the in-house men folk were recovered enough to consider participating in activities they had to psyche themselves up for. Scoffed down some eggs benedict then opened a wonderful stash of presents before enjoying lobster tortellini for lunch - doesn't get much better than that. The only son was most impressed with his goodies especially his new jeans which I've informed him will have to be requested, signed out and returned after use so he will have something presentable to wear. He listed off the various hazards his clothing faces....paint, silicone caulking, battery acid, grease, bleach, fire and protruding sharp objects when he 'forgets' and wears his 'good' clothes to work on the boat, truck, 4wheeler or whatever.

Only have to work a long night tonight and will be off until Tuesday - the schedule always gets messed around over the holidays so staff can be off one or the other and there were staffing issues with staff illness and family situations so I was really fortunate to already be working or would have had to keep a VERY low profile. The city daughter is staying home for a few days so we will have a little (wedding planning) visit in between the holidays beginning tomorrow as they are off to visit their 'other family' locally for the day.

We (life partner and myself) celebrated Christmas by booking our tickets for Cuba Feb 11 - 25th. Didn't get there last year and are considering the legislative changes that President Obama is making allowing Americans to visit so before there is an influx of visitors who have been waiting for some time to explore that which has been denied them we are pleased to have it planned. Have to come off a night shift as we leave that morning and return to one when we come back that night and fly up through Toronto is a two week break in the sun when I wasn't sure I was going to be able to have enough time. Now, the situation is that CUPE is in a legal strike position after January 11th (not my union but I'd loose my vacation for sure if it comes to pass) so cancellation insurance was the major concern. The last near miss for a walk out was resolved at 4 a.m. just 4 hrs before the picket signs were to be hoisted so it'll be a while before we really know.

Well, must go sort out my 'stuff' for work - I'll think of you all at 3 a.m.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

Well as we head officially into Christmas I'd like to wish you all a merry one. Today was the usual frantic at work of getting patients home, back from away facilities to our community site or just sorted out before all those 'day workers' are off until at least Monday and some until after the new year. Not unexpected as over my career I've worked a LOT of Christmas Eves. Went pretty smoothly considering the frantic pace and at 6:30 p.m. a co-worker slumped into the chair next to me and said "we survived today" and that really summed it up. Get to do it all over tomorrow but usually Christmas Day is a lower key affair with only a few family members visiting and everyone is where they're going to be for a few days. The ER usually starts heating up by the afternoon as folks show up after the festivities are considered over.

Here, they are on hold. I came home to find the one child who was to be the 'gift opener by proxy' flaked out in his bed. Convinced him to get up and eat the lobster casserole but he felt pretty punk - not sure what kind of virus he's incubating as he aches all over, has a headache and a temp but he quickly returned to bed. So, we will open gifts tomorrow after I come home from work as he said "Mom, I've got a present for you but it's in my truck and I don't think I can make it that far to get it" so we agreed to postpone the celebrations as I'll feel like having a Christmas nog tomorrow night not having to get up in the morning at 5:30 a.m.

Speaking of those under the weather the baby daughter apparently saw a Dr. out west today and (finally) got an antibiotic thanks to her big sister looking after her. So hopefully they will be able to enjoy the vacation together now. No mention of pants as this was relayed through their father.

Had an email from the middle daughter saying she got her final mark in her BEd (A+) and this sounds like distinction in her degree - yeehaw - on May 8th. She has worked hard and it shows.

So, off to bed to get ready for all that Christmas morning excitement - at work that is!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What? No Pants?

Had two reassuring messages from first the departure hostess daughter saying the youngest had been ferried to her (delayed) western flight this morning and she had watched her eat her breakfast and get on the plane. The second was from the traveler saying she was underway and feeling a little better but not by much and her suitcase weighed 30 lbs. which might as well be a million. So things were as expected.

I received a call from the oldest Red Deer daughter at suppertime saying that she had talked to her youngest sister who is staying overnight in Calgary with a friend and....apparently when I said to not not bother to pack TOO many clothes for the two and a half week trip as there was a washer and dryer with her sister she took that suggestion literally. She informed her soon to be hostess that she had arrived with only the pair of (dress) pants she was wearing. And apparently she had sat in gum somewhere along the way and it looked like she had shat herself (or it was bird poop) on the seat. So her sister advised that she'd better make a prompt visit to Value Village (as the west is not privileged as we are to have Frenchy's) since she could wear tops from her sibling but certainly not pants - even capris would be too long! I suggested the senior landlady would find it amusing but daughter #1 was reluctant to tell her as she might go buy some for her. The possibility that the landlady is the same size led to speculation that she could lend her polyester pants to the pantless visitor etc. Now how you forget to pack pants, even if you're feeling really bad with a cold, I'm not really sure. And to think that this is the daughter who used to say "pants Mom, pants Mom" if I was not wearing enough clothing in her opinion. Hmmm.

Added to this was her statement that she had seen someone in a turban washing the windows on a building which caused one of her sisters co-workers to ask where she was from? Not a lot of window washers let alone anyone wearing anything but a ball cap or toque in this neck of the woods, although she has traveled a bit. Hopefully the rest of the visit provides as much entertainment for the hostess once she actually picks up her guest tomorrow.

And to think that I'm concerned about last minute baking and gift wrapping. Talk about priorities eh?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Preparations

As you can see, the family dinner on Saturday night was a success with my sister-in-law even bringing a bread Santa - seen here on the left - as part of her contribution. Considering that I worked the night before, came home and crashed until 2 p.m. then got up to clean the house and get ready for 25+ guests at 6p.m. it went pretty smoothly. Daughter # 2 and her intended arrived about 2:30 p.m. and decorated the tree, peeled 5 lbs of carrots and 20 lbs of potatoes and generally were kitchen assistants so that saved the day. Considering that I came home that morning at 8 a.m. to find a note from the shore captain instructing me to 'call me cell' which I did only to find that he was just heading in to the Moncton exit as he'd had to drive up to get a part for the boat. I promptly advised him that since is was HIS family who were arriving in a few hours he had better make a major effort to be here himself. He arrived only moments before his mother but he did make it. Two of the three lobstermen were late and one was absent as it was the first day to haul in a while. But a good time was had by all and we weren't long shutting the lights out after the last guest and heading to la la land ourselves.

Sunday was a major blizzard so a good day to stay inside and read in front of the fireplace. I managed to get all the ornaments on the tree, wrap a few gifts and do some cooking. Nice to not have to go anywhere in that white stuff and good to have a quiet day for a change.

This morning it took 12 tries for the boy to get my car out of the driveway and the smell of burning socks when I got in worried me but he said "just the transmission heated up or something, wait about 1/2 hour until you drive it" so that was reassuring. Mind you he has 4 wheel drive and it took him almost as many tries and some very near misses of building, gear and my car before he extricated himself from the driveway and headed over to help the diesel mechanic wrestle the reduction gear into the engine room of the boat - he gets all the good jobs he says. After getting myself on the road I picked up some last minute things and groceries and came home to do some baking. Made jam cookies, brown bread and cranberry squares (which are like date squares but easier) from a recipe in the Lobster Bay Shopper - here it is:

Cranberry Squares

1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup crushed nuts
1-1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1/4 tsp. baking soda

can of whole cranberry sauce

Mix first six ingredients into a crumble. Press half in the bottom of an 8 x 8 in. pan. Spread cranberries over and cover with remaining crumbs. Bake 350 x 35 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Very Christmasy, less cooking than date squares and not as sweet. Yum.

So tomorrow is some more last minute errands, wrapping and then Wednesday will be to put the feet up. One thing about working Christmas is that you have to be ready before you head back so there's not the last minute panic.

The baby daughter is flying out west tomorrow to visit her oldest sister and since she's had a nasty bug she now has painful sinuses - not exactly the way you'd like to start your five + hour flight. She says her roommate has some gravol for her so she'll plan to sleep her way across if necessary. The flight ends in Calgary so the cabin cleaners will kick her off if they find her curled up in a seat anyway. She's staying the night with the bride to be and will be transported to her early morning flight from there. She sounded a bit better on the phone this evening, perhaps the adrenaline is improving the sinus situation.

Well, I must make my way through a few pages in my library book as I have 10 - 10 - 10 by Suzy Welch and it's a great read. Not to worry, you'll hear from me again before the five days off are done.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mr Efficiency

If you are reading this post and haven't received an email from me advising I'm using my gmail email address you may have trouble reaching me electronically. Give me a call if so and leave your email address and I'll forward it.

I left the life partner a message to contact Aliant today because of course being a traditional male the bill has to come in his name - not that he's ever paid a phone bill since we've been married I think - so they won't discuss arrangements with me. I cannot believe that for once on the first try he actually followed instructions. It usually takes several notes or repeated questioning to get something partially done but not today. So, since the billing date was tomorrow the Aliant clerk very helpfully canceled the dialup account complete with my webmail. Meaning all the messages I'd saved, the address book, everything is gone. And I mean completely gone. When I arrived home to find a voice mail from the caterer who said the email didn't go through and called tech support I was informed that there was no way to retrieve the data and it is as if the information didn't exist. I was flabbergasted. And I've spent the past hour trying to piece together email addresses from old address books, printed emails etc. Sigh.

We had a nice surprise visit from the baby daughter who arrived last evening after an overland journey by bus and then borrowed vehicle and who will be leaving in the morning as she is heading westward to spend the holidays with her oldest sister. And what do you suppose happens but an 'ordered in' shift for work this morning? Since I sleep soundly I reached out instinctively for the phone and the deed was done. When I asked the shore captain why he let me do it (as I was sure he was awake - he was) he said he thought it was the hired man calling because the boy captain hadn't gone to the shore. He's always one to think the worst of the lad, who had actually left very quietly 4:30 a.m. even though it was blowing quite briskly. Since this is a household where a middle of the night phone call isn't unusual we shall have to get into the routine.

The day was really frantic and promises of being able to leave after 8 hours disappeared so I was quite regretting my early morning reflex. As one of my coworkers said "there is quite a learning curve so don't be too hard on yourself" but it's too late for that. Some of the skills come back quickly - I was pretty excited to start an IV today - but others will take some work. I am trying to lower my expectations of myself. And if the youngest daughter hadn't dropped in, it wouldn't have mattered as much. Well, off to bed to do it all over again in the morning.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Surprise Visit

Well, a very productive weekend I’ve had if I do say so myself. I slept until the sun was over the yard arm on Friday and then got myself conscious enough to make some phone calls. The first to Superior Propane because…you guessed it…the propane tank hasn’t been filled since the serviceman called two weeks ago. That was the approximate length of time he gave me for the 10% in the tank if it was only cooking and not the propane fireplace that was used. The message was that we would receive a delivery on Tuesday so I had better find a slip in the door when I come home from work that day. Then I phoned Bell to see where the turbostick was which I ‘thought’ I’d ordered from them 10 days before as it hadn’t arrived and…was told they had no record of the 45 minute struggle complete with credit check, visa etc. There had better not be any record on the visa statement of the nonexistent stick either I advised! The rest of the afternoon was spent putting up a few interior decorations while the shore captain made supper – filleted haddock, steamed lobsters, peeled potatoes and boiled them and the fish while sautéing the lobsters and voila lobster chowder. Yum.

Yesterday I headed out on errands and managed to pick up some Christmas wrapping paper, a very nice battery operated LED candle with a light sensor so it turns on and off dusk to dawn and some small gifts. I did, after a very onerous process manage to source a turbostick at the local dealer. This took me over an hour and the clerk said she had never seen so many glitches in trying to set one up – karma I told her after my first attempt. They are a fairly busy spot as they have been supplying the shore captain with his cell phones – at last count he’s up to eight in the past two years, the most recent one this week – by any measurement he would be considered a frequent flyer. I refused to leave until the stick was set up on my netbook, ignoring the ‘it’s very simple’ message and a very nice young fellow named Shilo who had moved from BC (must belong to a leftover hippie I thought) obliged. And it was very simple to set up on my home system as well. I headed on over to the jewelry store where I picked up my repaired birthstone ring which was the first gift the life partner gave me in 1974 so a veritable antique and it looked as good as new. I’m on a roll so I left my pin on nurses watch for a makeover and made my way to the grocery store.

Today I wrapped the (very few) gifts I’ve managed to get ready while listening to Christmas carols – obviously I was alone, cleaned up my office and scrapbooking supplies, took the dog for a long walk in the bright sunshine and finally got supper and lunch ready for a very tired boy at 8 p.m. as he spent the day chasing his lobster gear after a stormy two days off. He had managed to convince his father to stay ashore and although things went smoothly there was still the ‘difficulty in letting go issues’ under the surface for the senior Capt. who was more than busy enough on shore.

There had been plans to take Klyde to the vet for dematting of the clumps in his coat but since the ferry isn’t running over from Newfoundland and the vet isn’t able to get home from vacation there is a reprieve. The whole ‘nothing to eat or drink after 8 p.m.’ routine was going to be a major pain where one cat is NPO and the others aren’t anyway. I can wait for that. The first aid instructor recertification I need to do has been scheduled and rescheduled several times since Friday and still hasn’t happened so all these events will likely come together at the same time.

Wow - a surprise drop in visit from the baby daughter as she has traveled from Fredericton means this post is being preempted. Later.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An early morning hello

Well, the quality of the photo isn't great but you get the idea. When I went to remove the sign from the doors after my sleep day last week I discovered that I had been just as sleepy as I thought I was when coming home from work and crawling into bed. I'm guessing it would've scared anyone off if they found it that way. And I'll likely do the same thing a few hours from now as I'm posting this from work at quarter to five in the morning. It's been a reasonable night which means steady but not unbearable. We had a really quiet start to the shift due to the major storm hitting us and thus no visitors underfoot. The trade off was that we had a wild ride in - good to have company for that sort of thrill. The white stuff has all disappeared with a temperature increase, wind and lots of rain. The lobster boats were all in but the shore captain was waiting for his fishing boat which was due in at 6 p.m. The shore captain was just that - ashore the past two days and that is the way the boy wonder likes it. It was quite a turnaround to hear him worrying about the gear in the water with the bad weather coming. They will have a day on land tomorrow with the forecast.

The holiday preparations have begun and I dug out the boxes of indoor decorations today after the cleaning lady left after giving me a pager for the Medical First Responders. I had just started to put them up when a page almost caused me to do feline CPR and I headed over in the blizzard to try to locate the dispatchers call. It turns out the civic numbers were non existant and the call was for a slip and fall on a fishing boat which hadn't made it to the wharf yet. When I discovered there were enough responders I made my exit pleading I had to get ready for work. So that was the extent of my holiday preparations. I wanted to reassure the girls that 'the bear' is up and being moved (although this is a shot from last week as I had to take the photo and save it to a flashstick and bring it to work as the ancient cast off laptop doesn't recognize it). The cats remembered the holiday doormat and took turns kicking it into humps. If you have a little one in your life here is a cute site to have a personalized video message from Santa sent to them:

Well actually, it's kind of cute for someone of any age as you can put in the naughty info etc.

Time to get started on the morning work as those in this wonderful resort are beginning to ring for room service. I've been told I'll be orientating to the Emergency Department after the holidays so that is something to look forward to.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wet and windy

A very wet, windy day here on the coast and I cannot imagine that the men folk are on the water but that was the message from the secretary at the plant when I called to ask if the shore captain was heading anywhere near a hardware store - this was because the cleaning lady discovered this morning that the runner underneath his chair in the man cave is missing. The only CSI conclusion is that it has made its way to the boat.

The lobster catches have been in the same range as last year and the variable of price is the major concern now. The intent is that the shore captain should become just that, getting the lad started out these first few days and then heading back on land. Apparently the boy has been doing well (as we all know he is capable of if he chooses) and that is something coming from his father who isn't known to dispense praise freely to his son. When I arrived home from work the past two evenings at 7:30 p.m. I have found both of them turned in but when you're heading out to work for 16 hour days in the cold, wet and rough weather that's not unexpected.

I am heading in to work tonight and have to crack some lobsters (which only took two days of notes in grub buckets) to receive. I told the crew on my shift this is one of the benefits of putting up with me. This is my last set in my orientation and I'm feeling more comfortable with each one and my preceptor hasn't even been working in the same area so am hopeful to survive as the conditions have been pretty interesting. As I told the teamleader yesterday "even a bad day on this side is much better than a good one in the previous role" and she was amazed with that. I told her that it's like a marriage where you never really know how others live inside their homes so not to judge I'm jumping into the fire, maybe it's out of the flames.

Since I'm switching rotations, lobster sandwiches will be my parting gift. I'm heading in to town early to run some errands as the mammogram van is in our parking lot this month (really looking forward to being squeezed) and as I'm traveling solo I'll get the chance to do some tasks. I actually was alone when I came home last evening because apparently one of the RNs in ER came to work in error and while she was still trying to process how she had done that, my preceptor quickly offered to head on home as the extra and was out the door on a vacation day. When a coworker advised me at 9 a.m. that she'd left I said "but I drove her" and so we decided she hitched a ride with a night staff member and picked up her car with a big grin on her face.

Well, the bread is finished and I must make some cookies for lobster lunches. Hasta luego.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Turbo stick relief

Just a quick post before I head off to lala land as the 5:30 alarm is just as it sounds....too early, as I'm heading in for a long day tomorrow. Mind you, I could be heading back out on the water at 2 a.m. as the two men in this house are doing so the whining is completely without foundation when looked at in that way.

Today went well apparently even though the weather was really windy. I didn't hear of any mishaps on the news and it seems that sometimes when the conditions aren't ideal that folks are more safely conscious. The boy captain did just fine getting all the gear into the water as they were in from the final load by late afternoon. He headed home then for a shower and change of clothes (as he was out on the deck without oilclothes somehow in the excitement and a large wave over the back soaked him first thing) and then back over to do some work on the boat, supper at 7:30 p.m. and then off to bed at 8. The shore captain (who had spent the day in the wheelhouse) by that time had been snoring for an hour. Their lunches are packed and supper made for tomorrow although they will likely be home after I am at 7:30 p.m. The boy wonder says that he's rigged up the spot lights and that they will be hauling all 375 traps tomorrow no matter how long it takes, even if his father needs a nap. Hopefully there will be a few lobsters as the price isn't predicted to be much above $4/pound due to the economy.

It was great to be around for the first day of lobstering should any errands be needed and I made arrangements for the glass replacement company to order and install the rear window for mister's truck on.....Wednesday. This required that one of his employees cover the opening with recycling bags (the clear ones) due to the wet forecast for tonight.

I also spent the morning discovering that Eastlink is not going to have the wireless internet available which was promised (after taking our tax dollars) in the broadband for all Nova Scotians scheme before 2010. Instead there is a Jan - May possible date the lad at Eastlink told me. He checked the website (something I pointed out to him I was unable to do as I only have dialup!!!!) and was not very helpful. I then called Bell Aliant as a neighbour told me about their turbostick that he has which works very well. I only opted for a one yr. contract as either Eastlink or Aliant (or perhaps both) will have something up by then. In the meantime for $35 per month/$25 installation fee /and $25 stick (which would be free if I took the 2 yr contract) I will enter the 21st century online-wise. I have a 30 day free trial period to make sure it works. The tech told me I can 'think it' on two computers (laptop and desk model) and use it when I travel within Canada without fees. So, now I'll be watching the mailbox this week for my 3G turbostick like a kid checking to see if Santa's watching. Yeehaw.

Off to see if the bread and chili are cooled enough to put away. Hoping the note in the grub bucket which reads "save lobsters please" works as the first feed of the season is always the best.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

D Day tomorrow - dumping day that is

So the senior captain is snoring after being sent to bed with a gravol (punishment for keeping me awake most of last night with his racing thoughts and restless legs) and awaiting the first day of the lobster season in the morning while visions of radar screens dance in his head. The junior captain has yet to make it back but a text message assures that he's finished baiting traps, just has to stop at the boat and is on his way home. A good thing too as they'll be up at 5 a.m. so already a short night for him, mind you - he's had lots of practice for those so handles them much better than his father. And at age 22 there is excitement versus anxiety when anticipating the season.

This year has brought a partnership agreement with two licenses so 375 traps and that is causing some of the anticipatory anxiety for the shore captain - been 25 years since he's fished that much gear. A firm counseling chat was dispensed regarding the need to let go, delegate and refrain from micromanaging as the business has expanded to the point that this is not possible. The difficulty with those who are reluctant to 'let go' is that they feel no one can do it as well as themself. I pointed out this evening delegating isn't a problem because with all the frantic there isn't much difficulty doing the job the same (or perhaps even better) than himself as there is no way that one person can do this many jobs. He reluctantly agreed. I further coached that if the heir to the fishing empire is to learn what he needs to - this will be accomplished by allowing him to make (non critical) mistakes himself as he has never been a boy to learn from someone else telling him what is wrong ex. the public school system. It appears that shore captain will become just that after a few days on the water to get the lad started as he appears to have accepted that he hasn't cloned himself so will have to only be in one place at a time this fall. And that news will be received very postively by the junior officer.

I spent the day getting quite a bit accomplished (after my early start thanks to the insomniac life partner) so managed laundry, baking and other chores as well as some scrapbooking so a great way to spend a sunny day off. It's been a nice weekend and I even did my civic duty of working bingo last night - the money balanced yeehaw - and set up afterwards for the firemans breakfast for this morning. I took pity on the Medical First Responders as there are only three women available during lobstering for calls so told them I'd help out for the next six weeks or so when I'm not working and the chief organizer aka my cleaning lady is going to locate me a pager.

Tomorrow I have a list of tasks (only one of which is mine) including calling Apple Autoglass as the life partner apparently put the 4 wheeler through the back window of his truck yesterday when loading it on. A local fisherman apparently did the same thing and advised that a replacement is $478 so certainly an insurance claim. I also have on my list to harass Eastlink as the power poles are still languishing in the ditch near the wireless tower and we are heading for December. Sigh.

Enough industry talk, I complain when I hear the same lobsters being caught over and over on the phone here. Here's to a safe and prosperous lobster season.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rudimentary Technology

Well hello again. And forgive me for the communication gap but I assure you I am serious about keeping in touch as I am now typing this post on an ancient (defined as abandoned by an offspring over two years ago) heavy laptop with a few missing keys and a loose wire to the screen, its saving grace being that it can connect to dialup at 24,000 bps because the lovely system my geeky nephew in law created for us, as well as my travel netbook are awaiting (as am I) the wireless internet connection. Although the tower has been in for months the power poles are lined up in the ditch awaiting installation so as the end of 2009 approaches it is still iffy as to whether we shall actually meet the promise of rural broadband for all before 2010. But I digress. Why am I not using the laptop purchased from work two years ago? Because it has moved on to become the system with the 3D plotter for one of the fishing vessels having the hard drive wiped and software installed this week. This required that I spend the day in between my day and night shifts this week sorting, discarding and transferring files to the new computer. Like cleaning a closet at the end "do I really want this photo or not?" as I hit delete. But enough digital whining.

I only had to do one day shift in this set (yeehaw) and I'm starting to feel a bit more comfortable with the technology and routines so things went fairly smoothly. Only one more set of four shifts and I'll be flying solo so I best be picking up the pace eh? Another new grad is joining us next month so at least I won't be the lowest on the seniority list then. Strange place to find oneself as a member of the original (now small) group of employees from the 70s still remaining and orientating to a position I've done a number of times over the past couple of decades. Guess when you stop reinventing yourself that is when things get boring.

Have had calls from the two youngest daughters this week with health related issues as daughter #2 is suffering from what I decided via phone consult is H1N1 flu and the timing isn't great with the push on towards the end of her BEd studies but what can you do? When you're hanging out with germ factories aka school aged children this isn't an unexpected development. Daughter # 3 had received five sutures in her smallest finger as she has sliced over the knuckle while.....are you ready for this?.....drum roll please.....washing dishes!! A glass broke in the dishwater and so the need to have some quilting done on her digit. I'm still working on the fact that she was doing dishes - I didn't even know she could load the dishwasher - but she tells me it was her week at the apartment to do so. If only I'd known that it was as easy as appointing it her week - wow! Talk about missed opportunities. But the main thing is that it heals up properly being near a joint so another phone consult for wound management tonight I think has that moving in the right direction.

The final weekend for lobster season preparation is unrolling as per usual with the shore captain snoring soundly across the hall as I type this. Mister was moody this evening, ignored by myself as I read a scrapbooking magazine (a wonderful gift from daughter # 1 which I enjoy monthly) and so put himself to bed at 9 p.m. Those of us involved in fishing families were discussing at work that the strategy for dealing with this type of behavior (which occurs just before and into the first of the season) is to ignore it and continue on with your activities. I've had lots of practice so I'm getting pretty good at it personally. The heir to the fishing empire (at age 22) is of course visiting a female friend this evening. His crises are usually lower order and today's was described as someone throwing his boots off the boat and he needed new ones - the actual fact may be that he left them somewhere ex. on the back of his truck, someone else's place etc. Good to have simpler issues I always say.

Had a phone chat with daughter # 1 today and she advised she had a mark of 80 on one of her midterms - not a bad start to her university studies. Not to mention that it usually takes a while to figure out the logistics of distance study, getting it together with working full time etc. So a good start to a first semester.

Time to get these bones into bed and back into real world schedule vs nightowl for the days off - the best parts of the shiftwork routine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yes, yes, yes I did it!

YES YES YES - I did it - passed my ACLS that is and I even made 100% on the exam! This older than dirt nurse has still got it. Not too shabby for having done anything like this so long ago that I can't even remember doing it in the first place. It was a stressful weekend but it's over.

I left Friday afternoon and in my daydreaming I missed the exit to Kentville and so traveled across through Windsor - now that was a BIG mistake - where the delay due to contruction was worth an hour delay! By the time I made it back to Kentville and checked in at Fidelis House it was black, raining and almost time to head on over to the course. The medication and cardiac monitor rythmn strip review sent me into the initial panic and I spent a restless night before the first day. Saturday was filled with lectures and practice stations and by the time 4 p.m. came I was ready to bolt out the door.

I decided the old brain wouldn't absorb anything more so I headed on over to the Acadia Christmas Craft Market as this is something I've always wanted to do but a road trip has never materialized. What a wonderful venue. There were booths from all across Canada and I got some great finds. I scored a bottle of blueberry wine from the new winery in Bear River - Annapolis Highland Vinyards if you get a chance to sample - wonderful! As well as some cute Christmas crafts with an ornament for the exchange at the shift party at work, some great Dutch cheese, a really cute pin which I will have to get my hooker friend (rug hooker come on now) recreate and some wonderful candles. Ahhh! A great diversion and I was more in control. A quick stop at Tim Hortons for supper and back to Fidelis House to decompress. As I set the alarm on the cell phone, reviewed my book and collapsed into bed I was not looking forward to the a.m.

This morning for some reason the alarm had not gone off and my eyes opened at 10 to 9 and the course began at 0900 hrs. What a sprint! I dressed, packed up the room, took my stuff out to the car, handed in my key and sprinted over to the hospital in....five minutes. I grabbed a muffin and apple for breakfast and headed into the Megacode scenario - let's just say I've started my day in better ways. The morning passed in a blur, I wrote my test actually scoring 100% - I have no idea how - and was back into the car.

A quick run across the province, a stop for tea and a visit to Guy's Frenchys on the way home to celebrate. Found all kinds of goodies - $41 worth so a real score - and home. The man of the house cooked supper while I walked the fur daughter so all is good. Tomorrow I have off - to compensate for the past three weeks of torture and giving up a weekend and then it's back to work on Tuesday. Life is good!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Favourite flavour

I think the caption should read 'yum, this is my favorite flavour of sleeve'. As you can see Gary is very fond of the shore captain's bait infused insulated coveralls keeping me company in the mud room. He and Stanley have taken up residence there as I type. I don't have the heart to put the suit in the washer as it's providing so much feline entertainment. And since I'm transitioning from the night shift I worked yesterday with a half sleep day (have to be careful to not oversleep and so be unable to go back to bed this p.m.) the laundry is on tomorrow's to-do list.

I am into the home stretch for the ACLS studying and the night shifts were busy enough that there was only a cursory review of the course materials with co-workers so I'm doing my best to keep the panic to a minimum. I have been reassured by an OHN colleague (ACLS instructor) and the physician on call last night who did the course last winter that I'll do fine this weekend and now I'm just trying to convince myself of that too. I have a spot reserved at Fidelis House:
which is a residence next door to the hospital where I'm attending. The price is right at $20 per night with breakfast available and that suits me fine as the expense claims at work have been slow getting paid back lately. I will be glad to have this behind me as studying has used all my available time for the past month.

I was however, very pleased to find that my pay is $200 more in my staff nurse position, even before I receive the education credit for my degree and certification which the collective agreement entitles me to. I have been getting my head wrapped around the new technology of IV pumps, cardiac monitors, and electronic ordering and am feeling more settled every shift. My co-workers last night were of my vintage so it was almost a deja vu event.

On the home front...this evening I was finally able to use the rangetop because we ran out of propane on Sunday night and Superior apparently have only one employee that is able to problem solve/provide decent customer service. When the annoyed man of the house called them first thing Monday morning he was told they needed to know what the gauge read on the tank causing a 6 a.m. phone call to the son to look at it (not that NO propane and a strong smell of mercaptopurine meant anything to them) and say it was less than 5. No feedback from Superior so another call from himself on Tuesday which resulted in a chirpy phone message from 'Lee at Superior Propane' stating that she was sure we'd be pleased to know that we'd be receiving our fuel on Wednesday, November 18th. No, Lee I was NOT pleased to hear that, I would've been pleased to NOT have run out of propane for three days since we were supposedly on automatic prefill as I reviewed with Ian when I phoned the 800 number attempting to figure out how this happened to prevent a recurrence. A 53 yr old nurse just out of bed after a busy night shift who is trying to scheme up supper to be cooked solely in an oven and microwave is not someone you want to have to tangle with he discovered. I suspect they changed a database, lost a fill slip or just tried to get less deliveries in to save the transportation. Today the plot thickened. When I got up at 1 p.m. I had a call from the life partner telling me that the delivery man had come to fill the tank but left without doing so as the tank was outdated. The hired man was working on lobster gear in the yard so noticed this (good thing as there was no note or phone message) and called mister who got on the horn again to Superior and by this time HE was as unimpressed as his wife. They located a service man working in the area who arrived with a replacement tank which was about 1/2 full - unfortunately the tank wasn't in good shape so was only a temporary fix and will need to be replaced again. The service man (the one employee at Superior who understands the concept of customer service) tells me that tanks are inspected for 10 years (we've only been in this house for 3 so they obviously put an old tank in) that the drivers are held 100% liable if they fill an out of date tank and anything happens so they are not to fill them and that likely there had been a couple of trips to fill the tank but the message about the outdate never got through the system. I was pleased to have this service man look at the igniter which we'd been trying to get replaced for some time so that is now ordered and he'll replace when he installs the new tank. The fact that I only lost one branch off my azalea bush in the process was a bonus. So I boiled something for supper tonight - just because I could.

The lads are getting themselves ready for lobstering and as the heir apparent said tonight "eleven days left, oh I'm not starting to worry yet" as he came home covered in grease, algae and javex as he had grounded the boat out and spent the day cleaning the bottom, putting on the buoy catcher around the prop and stripping off the fishing gear in preparation for the next season. He's gone to take the boat off the slip when the tide (hopefully) floats it this evening. Thought he might take the girl he's been visiting along to help him - now that would be my idea of a hot date eh?

The western daughter was filling me in on the FireMedic she's befriended and his work Christmas party she'd attended with him which all sounded like fun. Then she mentioned that he and his partner had to wait at the hospital for a patient for some reason and had asked a nurse about a bed for them to sleep in until they could get out of there as they have bunks in the fire station. Apparently the nurses response (likely with eye rolling) translated to 'who do you think you are someone special?' I'm not sure what this guy looks like but I'm guessing he's a pretty big boy if he takes on night nurses with those kind of questions!

Anyway, enough rambling - bedtime as this brain isn't going to absorb much at this hour.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

House guests

Well another set of days off - isn't that how life is measured? so I'll catch you up a bit. I've managed to make it through another four shifts without any major calamities so there is hope that I may actually get up to speed at some point. But the more I straighten out, the more presents itself to be relearned.

These days off have been spent studying for the ACLS course, getting my first aid/CPR card renewed as it is required for the course, running errands, submitting engagement announcements to the newspapers, doing housework and.... entertaining the friend of the shore captain who came out of the woods on Wednesday and instead of heading back to the city has elected to stay here and go gunning and deer hunting locally. He has brought his Chesapeake Bay Retriever with him which is the size of a pony! This has not gone over well with the resident canine or felines. Last night I saw Gary, with Stanley looking over his shoulder and Klyde serving as lookout from the other side of the hall checking out the closed bedroom door, sniffing beneath the door and up both sides of the frame with evil looks on their faces. The cats have been very unimpressed with Zita looking in the windows at them, whining and jumping on the window sills. I have been less impressed with the state of my flower beds as the foot prints in the mulch are dinosaur sized. Tomorrow afternoon they are heading home.

One of my projects for tomorrow is getting my certifications straightened out for financial credit at work. This is a novel concept for me but since I am now a union member there are clear guidelines as to how much this will benefit me. I had a very worthwhile chat on Tuesday with the NSNU labour rep so am starting out my in my position in my usual style.

Today the prodigal son started the day off in his usual style as while I was hanging clothes I heard yelling and then saw him lurching his way back down the driveway from the barn where he was working on lobster traps. He had clipped a piece of plastic coated wire for a trap and it flew back and split his lip from outside in - think it actually punctured through but I tried to convince him otherwise - and wow did it bleed. Good thing it wasn't his eye. Got some pressure on the laceration, assured him the Dr. wouldn't suture it and sent him back to work with his fat lip. He sure looked like he'd been in a brawl when he left the house this evening.

Well, must do some more reviewing for the ACLS course (and positive thinking that it may be cancelled as a plan B) before I hit the hay. Only a week left until I face the music.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back to work I go

My, my how does the time fly when it’s being counted in days off. I am headed back to work in the a.m. for my next set of four shifts and I have to say that I’m thinking of these as my first orientation shifts since the original set was so messed up with transition work – which I have no intention of continuing after today’s events.

This morning I had a less than satisfactory chat with my now manager who had been asked to relay the message from her superiors that my ‘request was denied’ as I has asked for an additional week off in the winter (not vacation as that’s not possible under the collective agreement) but a week without pay and a lump sum to cover as a one time request to sign on as I’ve used the bulk of my vacation for the year. The ironic part is that an RN new to our system would be offered a $5,000 bonus if they agreed to work for one year in a return for service agreement. In fact this is happening with two new staff – one is this year’s graduate – as I type. When I made the statement that I didn’t feel this was fair (due to my experience and qualifications) I was told that the letter stated I could meet with the Director if I wished – this is NOT going to happen I can assure you. But as I closed the discussion I stated calmly “the fact remains that I do not have a return for service agreement so it makes some of my decisions easier”. So much for retention of experienced nurses eh? If I’m going to get a signing bonus I’ll ensure that it (and the compensation for the position) is worthwhile. Getting up to speed on the clinical skills with my ‘present employer’ is the first step in my plan. This does not in any way detract from the decision to move over into the clinical area – just the employer I’m grumbling about.

I’m not a big fan of early morning alarms (defined as 0530 hrs) but surviving two in a row is not a major problem and having traveling companions eases the pain. Tonight’s forecast is for that wet white stuff (can’t bring myself to type the s word this early in the season) so I’m appreciative of the 4 wheel drive vehicles of my shift mates and I just have to make it up to the main highway.

The men of the house are heading in to camp this weekend as a friend is coming down from the city for their annual migration. The only son has been dispatched this afternoon on a mission to take in propane, groceries and see what is required for supplies, check if the perimeter has been breached (by bears or humans) and needs cleaning up and air out the camp and straighten out a bit. He has not returned from his recon assignment yet. This will mean that Sunday will be a ‘me day’ in between my shifts ahhh.

I’ve spent my days off doing some domestic chores which included provisioning the men folk for their hunting trip as well as baking which has long since been devoured. I’ve taken long walks with the dog, scrapbooked, sewn my blackout curtains for sleep days, visited Frenchy’s, visited the dentist (waited 55 minutes and got a $5 Tim Horton’s card for my patience) slept in, finished up my book from vacation, attended a writing seminar and begun to study for my course – which might end up being cancelled if the others booked that weekend are any indication due to the increased flu activity, got an engagement announcement/grad photo put together to submit to the papers and got caught up on the news. So a satisfying week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Days off - ahhh

Survived my first set of four shifts and slept fairly well considering that I don't have curtains on my bedroom window yet and got my H1N1 flu shot the morning before my full sleep day so had a bit of a sore arm. It was Hallowe'en on a Saturday night, so that had potential for being a problem - which didn't materialize - and the time was set back an hour so we split the extra time with the shift coming on as well so I think I did okay.

Now, enjoying my second of five days off so that should tell you how things have been going. Ahhhhh. Aside from the fact that the ensuing years have sucked all memories of where supplies are located, some nursing processes and technology from my brain, I'm doing just fine. Actually, it hasn't been as terrifying as I had suspected. Coworkers have been wonderful in helping me out with the main problem being that I do know some things (as opposed to being a complete foreigner) so they actually think I'm competent. "No, I don't know how to do this" is my most common statement. I've decided that I'm not going to panic until the orientation is drawing to a close and that is in Dec. so will take things as they come. It was a good decision to head on back to the trenches and I likely should have done it six months ago but hindsight is always 20/20.

Tomorrow I've offered to help with a flu shot clinic at one of the Dr. offices so that will use up the morning. I have plans to try to activate a surplus cell phone which has been returned by an offspring and 'put minutes on it' so I'll have a means of summoning emergency help while traveling if necessary. I have an afternoon appointment in Bridgewater and that is where a really good Frenchy's is hmmm....As well, I'm going to try to source an expandable curtain rod and some dark material for day sleeping shades. So depending on when the to-do list gets completed I may or may not make it home to provide supper as I'm heading out to scrapbooking in the evening. Nice to have time during the week for errands, walking the dog in the daylight, sunny days to hang laundry... Such is the schedule of a staff nurse enjoying their days off.

The shore captain has had the crew hard at work on the lobster gear in the yard the past couple of days which has raised a fair bit of local interest as there are over three weeks before the start of the season. Since he is know as Mr. Last Minute the neighbours/fishermen have been dropping by to see what is going on. I finally sent him up the driveway to the barn with the coffee perc and fixins. I mean if you're going to run a drop in center you might as well serve refreshments.

Well, I must go study for my ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) course as I'm booked in for the weekend of November 20th. Not a huge stretch from the first aid/CPR instructor spot I'm standing in but still has been a while for the drugs and healthcare side of things. Takes longer to stretch an old brain so off to crack the books.

Friday, October 30, 2009

From the trenches

Well, a short note on my break from work. I’m just waiting for the nurse mentoring me to get back with the pizza order – wow life is hard in this position – not. It’s been a fairly steady shift for the first four hours but has settled nicely now and we’re into the eating and routine night work.

The flu continues to cause us major headaches in healthcare of course. I’m doing my best to help out as I’m a staff nurse now – I keep reminding everyone that “I don’t do that anymore” with a large smile on my face. But I’ve already decided that staying up all night beats what I was doing before. Yeehaw!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Staff Nurse

Well tomorrow I will describe myself as a staff nurse, working for the nursing department and woohoo am I ever looking forward to that after today's final running of the gauntlet. The insanity started before I made it in the door and continued as I exited with the boxes of stuff from my former worklife. I did my best to tie up the last minute details and pack up the office but it was a losing battle. When the memo went out (at 2 p.m.) from management to say that I was no longer going to be in my position - nothing like leaving the notification until I'm walking out the door - there were a few drop ins and phone calls from co-workers who had been ambushed by the news and wanted details and explanation. This was not helpful as I ran towards the finish line. The most positive event in my day was that the garage found the leak in my tire (must've run over a nail or a hook) and plugged it, then brought it back to the parking lot for me - can't ask for any better service than that can you?

As I said goodbye to the final summer neighbour who is heading stateside tomorrow I have to acknowledge that winter is coming. Sigh. I was explaining to her that I would doing the H1N1 immunizations for work WHEN I was working my regular shifts not on my days off in between, bad enough to have to multitask but at least not extra days, so decided to clarify that for you. Wishing safe travels tomorrow for her.

The son's 22nd birthday was celebrated today (glad I wasn't having labour induced today actually) and he enjoyed the flying monkey I (again) purchased in Portland for him. Loyal blog readers may recall that I'd left the bag somewhere on my way back to the ship last year so had to repurchase. He was most impressed with his red neck wallet which is made entirely out of duck tape (camo and plain) and is marketed as waterproof and the boxer shorts with lobsters. His western sister had left him a t-shirt which tickled his funny bone as well as covered his back. He was a happy camper when he left the house at 8 p.m. saying he'd be back shortly..... haven't seen him since.

Well, must go get my uniform ready for the morning - haven't said that for a while - and hit the hay.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Final day

Well, so much for promises of photos the following night. Life has been a little more intense than usual (if you can believe it) here lately and as I type this I find myself contemplating a final day in my present position as tomorrow I am released from my situation. Yeehaw! There does not appear to be any transition planning from my superiors for my departure so tomorrow so I’m a bit ticked that it looks as if I left suddenly or didn’t give almost a month’s notice. No way am I going to wear that one! And there has been chatter of me ‘giving a few days to the program’ in addition to my staff nurse role and although I’ve been doing my best to explain that four – 12 hr. shifts in rotation – two long days, followed by two long nights and four (occasionally) five days off IS full time…I’m not sure the message is getting through due to the 'no plan' problem.

The final push to clean out the office – the desk has never looked so great – along with keeping up to the daily routine and attempting to do the MUSTS on the to-do list have more than occupied my last three days. I’m sure it will be a sprint to the finish tomorrow! I begin my orientation on Wednesday and will experience the really early start on Thursday as I’ll need to be at work by 6:45 a.m. I’ll be keeping the shore captain’s hours before long. The nights I had acclimatized to while doing 7 – 7 in long term care so I should be able to get myself out of the house after supper without too much difficulty. I’ve been breaking it to the life partner in stages that I’m not planning to leave supper cooked on days I’m not here as I did years ago when doing LDs – there are no children home whose nutritional status I'm concerned about now. And I’ve made it fairly plain that I won’t be hauling carcass out of bed after sleeping the day and whipping up a gourmet meal. At present he’s approaching it with the ‘she’ll get over it’ routine.

This evening I made a birthday cake for the lad who will be 22 tomorrow. He had requested ‘that chocolate cake you put potatoes in’ and so that is cooling on the counter as I type. Wow, it just seems like yesterday that I was waiting to have labour induced!

As promised I am posting some cruise vacation photos. Beginning with the one on the left I'm really missing - the bed turned down and chocolates out. Sigh.

But our wonderful waiter Elston, from Goa in India showing us the visual dessert menu has got to be a close second.
And of course the Broadway musical we saw - Memphis - which was still in preview mode - fantastic! Just a little taste of the over 500 photos captured digitally. Ah, how quickly we are back into the daily routine again. Mind you an entire day spent scrapbooking at Croptoberfest and a lazy day on Sunday as it was really windy and rainy so the cruise ship didn't make it to our town and I missed my port lecturer opening act. We took in the Trailer Park Boys latest movie on Sunday and called it a night. Not Memphis but not bad.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Home and hello again

Well, although we’ve been back since last Saturday there have honestly not been five spare minutes, let alone about 20 to update you on all the changes here in the zoo. But tonight, I’ve simply decided to park myself in front of the keyboard and at least make a start.

My friend and I finally decided we had run out of excuses and had to come home from our vacation after all. We had a great 13 day New England/Maritimes cruise on the Celebrity Constellation although the weather didn’t cooperate very well. We had six days of gales, rain, fog and really rough seas. On the way back to New York it blew 50 knot winds! We’re good sailors and the stabilizers worked really well so it wasn’t a problem for us but the American passengers were cranky. Well, not all of them as we had nice tablemates for dining with. We dropped off our purchases from Boston, Portland and Bar Harbour in Halifax and left them in the trunk of the car when we stopped on the way through. Had a nice visit with my Boston cousin and his wife while we were there on one of our very few fine days and found some great bargains at Macy’s to boot. We sourced free wi-fi throughout the trip and so were able to keep in touch with home and brag on FaceBook about our travels. I promise to post some photos tomorrow when I update again. I first have to download and sort the 500 or so pictures I (we) took. There was a surreal experience where we met a couple from Saskatoon who had lived locally in the 70s as they were military and the man was the shore captain’s Scoutmaster. When they found out where we lived they wanted to know if we knew him – when I realized he was describing my husband we both were incredulous!!

When we visited with the keeper of the car (daughter # 2) in Halifax on the port of call she was pleased that the groom’s stepmother had been able to intervene and get them the local wedding reception venue they wanted. So now she has confirmed with the minister and the date is set for June 26, 2010. Wow, 2010 is going to be a big year for her with her BEd graduation in May and then getting hitched the next month.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I gave my notice from my ‘office job’ and so today did a cardiac monitoring course (which I did finally by this afternoon find I was remembering some of rhythms) and will start orientating to shift work on Wednesday the 28th. With staff discussions of who is working Halloween night and thus costumes and eating…I remembered how much I missed all this. With the H1N1 immunization as well as many other pandemic panics looming in my (almost) previous position and no systemic plan for dealing with any of the crises let alone the gap my departure will leave, I give thanks daily that I am about to be released from that version of the pain. I’ve been receiving a mixture of pleased but confused welcomes from my co-workers and congratulations from friends who are pleased I’ve made a good choice for me. I’m into the countdown now.

I had a call from the cleaning lady who is coming in the morning to ask if I’d gotten a new vacuum and I said n-o…. w-h-y? Apparently my machine died last week when she was cleaning (not sure if it had anything to do with the fact that I was away for two weeks before that) and she had her husband bring up her vacuum. She maintains that she spoke to the shore captain who assured her I was getting a new one anyway as it was dying. Since this was a complete figment of his imagination I was a bit less than impressed. I could deal with the fact that he had neglected to advise me of the death of the machine as his short term memory (except for sports) is atrocious. We worked out a plan for adjusting to my shifts and she mentioned that her sister’s estate had an Electrolux that I can buy – so she looks after me in many ways.

I think she needs to take the shore captain on as a project as on Monday he had a dentist appointment (which he had booked) and which I convinced him to attend, reminded him of and sent him to work with the appointment note. When I spoke to him on the way home (he had driven an hour each way to the appointment) and asked how it went he said “it’s a long story”. When I assured him I had time he admitted that he has been 7 minutes late and the receptionist wouldn’t let him in. When I agreed that the appointment was for 3:30 p.m. he said “well I had to wait for the dentist last time for 15 minutes” Now Mr. Type A Personality does not wait for anything – not sure if he thinks he’s too important to, or if his ADD prevents it but he is ALWAYS late for everything and the people in his life have just adjusted to that. If he says 6 it’s at least 6:30, he’ll be late for his own funeral, you know the type, and no one expects him to be on time. So to think that someone had reeled him in at the age of 53 was quite amazing to me.

The life partner is cross as he has yet to go gunning because he has not one but two non-functioning outboard motors. The dog (and he) look longingly in the direction of the shots from down the harbour. He has been busy with boats still fishing and the prodigal son is in fact on the water as I type. It amazes me that he is, as on the night before he left he had stayed up all night to bait his trawl, ran the roads then had run out of gas by the dump on the way home at 11 p.m. and had to have two girls (who think I’m cute he says) come pick him up, retrieve a gas can and head back, returning by midnight. He was not very spry when 3:30 a.m. rolled around as his father was driving him to the wharf. I’m sure the Captain was thrilled that he slept the whole way out.

Had a surprise phone call from the western daughter to say that there may be opportunities with the bank to head east so she has a phone interview set up next week to begin the process should positions become available. It’ll be nice for her to be able to visit more often, although her youngest sister is headed out to Alberta to spend Christmas with her this year.

I’m waiting to hear back from the cruise ship that is heading into town on Sunday as to whether they’d be interested in my presentation on lobstering. Am hoping this would give me an in with the line/agent for DIY and a possible out of using the entertainment agency. A family friend sent the following suggestion which is entirely true if tongue in cheek:

When that cruise ship comes in, I think that you should organize a boarding party. The Somalis do it all the time, I'm certain that you can scrape some people together and manage well enough. The reason? That big ol' boat actually has better facilities and more services than the entire town.

The ship includes many amenities including two restaurants, a bar, boutique, cruise sales office, shops, aft Jacuzzis, aft pool, art gallery, arts & crafts room, spas, lounges, a card room, fitness centre, library, deck pool, promenade, salon and more. I bet they also have a movie theatre that shows newer films, too.

C’mon now, waddayawant? The Trailer Park Boys movie – Countdown to Liquor Day is playing in town this weekend. Actually I’m going to be having quite an active social life this weekend as I’m going to Croptoberfest (scrapbooking) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, hopefully presenting on Sunday then taking in the movie. But for now I must go excavate this hacienda so the cleaning can begin in the a.m.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I knew it had been a while since I blogged but when I checked the date and found it was Sept 18th which is over two weeks ago....well it is a symptom of all the frantic in my life apparently. Where to start?

The meeting at work was a real hair raiser and resulted in my coming to the conclusion that I am not up for a fight I can't win. As I age I find I pick my battles more selectively and so I'd like to announce that I have a new (old) job as I'm heading back to be a staff RN. I took it as a sign that the uniform company was visiting so bought two very attractive ones. I gave my two weeks notice for the present position and will return from vacation to settle the office and then begin orientating with a cardiac monitoring course and will likely be doing shifts by the end of the month. The fact that I will make more money and be able to work my hours and leave the situations to be continued by others has a lot to recommend it. My only concern is that I will have to invest in a window shade for day sleeping.

On a positive level we are the proud owners of a new (to us) computer system thanks to our nephew-in-law and will put it to good use when the high speed internet finally arrives in....December. The road to the tower is in and so we wait to ensure we meet the deadline of broadband for all before 2010. Sigh. My brother-in-law was the courier for the computer and the shore captain was instructed to retrieve it from the trunk of his car as he golfed, no one noticed the hoist so that was good.

We attended the wedding of a friend's son last weekend in the city and it was simply lovely. Spent a wonderful couple of days visiting with the girls, shopping, eating - try the sushi at Doraku if you're ever in Halifax, attending Word on the Street and generally enjoying ourselves. With the help of an image consultant (mother of the groom) I managed to power shop (20 min. like a husband at Canadian Tire) my way to a beautiful pale peach suit which fits wonderfully over my spanx. We scoped out bridesmaid dresses and have a lead on those so things are moving along nicely. It'll be our turn come the summer - how did that happen?

Have had a wonderful time visiting with the western daughter this week and although I'll miss seeing her for the two remaining days it's great to see her doing so well in life and making us proud as she heads back to Alberta. We have managed to score wonderful finds at Frenchy's (everything from uniforms to jackets) and she has consulted and assisted me with my packing this evening. We celebrated both our birthdays and had a family feast on October 1st which means the shore captain won't have to cook for at least a week as he cleans up the leftovers.

Said goodbyes to two summer neighbours today and will visit a bit with the other upon my return so as the leaves turn this is what happens when we get deserted locally. The shore captain is chasing boats, getting ready for hunting and lobstering (in that order) and suffering a headcold so I'm most pleased to be traveling with a girlfriend for this cruise.

We're off in three hours to fly to Newark and then on to the Celebrity Constellation for the Canada/New England cruise. Will think of you all (ha) as we enjoy all the liner has to offer. Will be in touch upon our return October 17th or sooner with reasonably priced internet access.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A me day

Well since it’s the weekend it must be time to blog eh?

When I took Wednesday off to do my presentation for MidWeek Break at the library I decided to make it a ‘me’ day. I slept in and made my way (noisily as I was left with the car waiting to go into the shop for an exhaust system repair – think Trailer Park Boys and you’re not far off) to Yarmouth in time for the presentation. There were some technical glitches between my mini laptop and the library projector which were finally remediated by the cable company cameraman. Since I hadn’t saved the PowerPoint presentation in the older version this was the precipitating factor – good to be reminded of that now, not on the cruise ship. The talk was well received, recorded and otherwise uneventful.

I had time for a Frenchy’s shop following and scored big time…For 50 bucks I found a nice black purse, a faux alligator leather laptop bag, two large reusable shopping bags, two sets of double sheets (the animal print one the boy declared suitable for Austin Powers, Man of Mystery), a pair of navy cushions for my living room, three pairs of slacks, capris, shorts, cardigan and a top. Since I was on a tight timetable when it came time to try items on I was forced to jump into them, take a quick look, make an immediate decision and move on. As opposed to trying things on multiple times, mulling over my choice and then talking myself into something. The investment isn’t large and this rapid method is obviously superior when I look at my cache.

I headed back to the library and had a mentoring session with the Writer in Residence. The previous week there had been almost 60 people attend the original session for the Writer in Residence program which will have monthly programs. The mentoring session focused on my dream of travel writing and some resources for memoir – yes I do plan on still nagging at my kids after I’m gone - since I have so much free time to write, however it was a great boost to my creativity. And she had some good links for my presentation on PEI as well.

I picked up a few groceries and bought lipstick, socks (in a nod to the fall cruise temperatures) and travel toiletries so I’m good to go. When I arrived home to find our boarding letter, which is the equivalent of a ticket as entertainment staff aren’t issued tickets, had arrived the excitement mounted. This letter contained not just the category ex. inside passenger stateroom or officer’s cabin but the room assignment so I can tell you that we’ll be aft and starboard, have a window, twin beds and 170 sq ft. of space on the main deck ex. where the restaurants, theatre and gangplanks are to enjoy our cruise. You’d think we were royalty; well we’re going to pretend we are.

The other evening after getting the laundry off the line as I was sitting in front of the computer with Gary gazing back at me from beside the laptop it became clear that he was looking intently at my right shoulder. When I glanced to the right I noticed something moving there. This precipitated a wild dance of jumping, brushing and yelling which Gary watched calmly, then jumped down to investigate a…caterpillar. Whew.

I stayed after work last evening for the cruise ship meeting and so had a couple of hours to work on the lobstering presentation. At the meeting I sat next to the graphic designer who I will commission to design my cruise speaking business cards. The meeting was interesting as it was run by the new Tourism Mgr who was a classmate of the oldest daughter meaning he is all of 25. He was never accused of lacking imagination so this is right up his alley. I flicked through my PowerPoint for him, offered to entertain the onboard guests gratis on Oct 25th and he was impressed. Since he is my hookup with the Cruise Director on the Balmoral it is looking pretty good for me to have an in with an agent free gig in my future.

Major management/workgroup problems are looming at work with issues percolating for some time but coming to a head with pandemic planning. One of my co-workers said today on the phone as she was describing all the insanity to her husband he told her that she looked like she was doing Tae Kwon Do with her arms waving around like that. A meeting is scheduled for the 24th and our team has all made exit plans should the discussions not go well. Since I have reinvented myself multiple times, although this isn’t necessarily desirable, it is certainly possible. We shall see.

On a more pleasant note we’ve been invited to the summer neighbours for supper tomorrow so it will be nice not to have to provision ourselves. Ah.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sneak preview

Little blogger humour there as I post the photo on the left of what I found by the barn as I walked up the driveway to get the newspaper this morning. I thought we were back in the early 70s during the Cold War and the Russians had visited during the night. This is what the shore captain/boatbuilder has been spending his free minutes on. And all this time when I saw him diligently puttering by the barn I thought he was working on gear. Apparently the original plan was made by one of his employee's father and they made a mould and fabricated it with fiberglas, sealed it with gelcoat and now have done the camo thing. It escapes me how you could sneak up on anything in the water while being propelled by an outboard motor, but what do I know?

This week my headcold developed into sinusitis and laryngitis, so that was not a fun way to spend my extremely frantic workweek. Life was further complicated by a 1 a.m. crank phone call as it turns out someone had stolen the baby daughter's cell phone when she left it at a pizza place. After we got past the frantic thinking something was seriously wrong about 7 hrs away, and the anger at the profane texts we managed to get back to sleep. By the next day the theft became clear but it still left me ticked off. Apparently there is a scam where low-lifes pick up cell phones and call/text the contact list so the owner will cancel the phone and then....they have a paid for phone to activate or buy minutes for. Creeps.

Ah, nevermind, I didn't wake up as my niece (who has a two year old daughter) did to "I pooped on da floor". Those were the days.

On a more positive note, I'm delighted to announce that we have three daughters studying university in business, education and nursing as of this week. All the usual settling into the courses routine going on. Although I do miss that rush of not being enrolled when September comes around the only thing I would be interested in at present would be a Masters in Scrapbooking or perhaps a Bachelor of Crocheting.

I am however polishing up my presentations for the cruise and doing last minute checks for accuracy. Always the chance of an audience expert waiting to pounce. I've got a line on some quality photos from the Writer in Residence at the library as she has just done a travel book on PEI. I have a mentor meeting with her (to boot my complacency up a notch from wannabe to writer) after I do the Mid Week Break talk on Norway on Wednesday.

I have kept a low profile today as I'm feeling much better after the massage therapist adjusted my head/neck/sinuses yesterday - reading the paper and chatting on the phone and the only domestic duties being a loaf of brownbread to go on the boat tomorrow. Apparently there are four vessels readying to leave as soon as this low pressure system passes. The last loaf I sent with the Boy Captain he was unable to partake of as the first slice he dropped into a puddle on deck, and the crew polished off the remainder while taking their turn on watch.

And speaking of culinary topics, the word of the day courtesy of podictionary is.....cranberries:

Do you suppose that manufacturers of juices would have anticipated a big market for something called marshwhort cocktail?

How about fenberry cocktail?

These were the names in England of the native berries now known as cranberries.

Although the subspecies is different, North American cranberries were similar enough to European varieties that when Europeans first began to harvest cranberries in North America they named them according to a German word that meant “crane berry.”

The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that there was already a trade importing cranberries from North America back to England by 1686 and that the word first shows up as an English word in 1672.

So it was from North America that England adopted the originally German name for these berries.

Even Anatoly Liberman blogging at the Oxford University Press blog asks the question what exactly cranberries have to do with cranes. The Century Dictionary says “the reason of the name is not obvious.”

So no one knows for a fact why cranberries are named on honor of these tall birds but here are a few theories.

Some speculate that the flowers of the plant have stamens that resemble the bill of a crane.

I myself wonder about the fact that—as indicated by their earlier English names marshwhort and fenberry—these plants grow in swampy areas. Like most long legged, long necked, long billed birds, cranes like to hunt in shallow water.

Looking up crane diets I see that they like to eat all sorts of things including berries. I haven’t seen any references that indicate cranes don’t eat cranberries.

Why not name cranberries after cranes?

I looked out the window yesterday before I dragged myself off to work and saw a crane (Great Blue Heron) fishing off the point while surrounded by shags (cormorants) and sighed.Countdown to retirement - September 2012 - less than three years now that I'll work fulltime. There, I've made it official by blogging it.