Friday, March 20, 2009

And we're - almost - off

Since I haven't posted for a week and it's been a rather eventful one, I best get going eh?

To begin with there was the temporary breakdown of the shore captain on Saturday as he was getting ready to leave for his trip to see the Capt. in hospital. It appears that one of the local fisherman (aka busybody) mentioned while they were taking his lobsters out that he had 'heard the Coast Guard on the set talking and they were towing a boat in' Now you can only imagine what this gem of information did to someone in a state of hypervigilance (yes that is the official term for those who have PTSD) what with everything that has gone on this winter vessel wise. So this results in him hyperventilating, pacing and frantically trying to figure out what the situation is. I try logic "they're not the only boat off the coast this weekend, I'm sure you'd have heard by now, the weather is great etc" to no avail. He calls a) a local fisherman who has his VHF on scan and has alerted him to troubles at sea before - he's lobstering his wife says b) a local neighbour who does the same - she's not sure but doesn't think the situation is serious c) his mother who has a VHF set - but isn't home and doesn't have voice mail to leave a message d) the Coast Guard office locally - no answer, no voice mail, message to call Search Coordination Center. Mister frantically begins to shave. I suggest calling Search Coordination and he says "go ahead, you call" so I do. I explain to the tech my husband's mental status requiring reassurance and he chuckles but when he calls the name of the vessel up on the database and finds out they're frequent flyers lately he takes the call seriously. When he asks me where they're fishing (and of course I have no idea - in the water comes to mind - they go and then they come back) I have to summon the nervous wreck from his ablutions. They have a great chat and mister is much reassured, leaving shortly to visit the Captain. As he's leaving I tell him to wear his new sneakers to break them in advising him they look great. He asks if I think they look too young for him and I reassure him but he settles as he says "well never mind everything looks too young for me now, except you of course" to which I reply "we do have a history which a man 1/2 your age wouldn't share with me" as I think of a nursing school classmate who is cohabiting with one of her son's friends but if I ever do this again the man is going to old, very rich and have a poor cardiac status, this is my alternate retirement plan! I am left to have extensive conversations with ALL of the recipients of his frantic dialing spree and I stayed home to get my presentations done. Talk about my nerves!

The prodigal son returned early Monday morning. I know this because his father answered the cell phone at 2:34 a.m. and had a yellular conversation - as in Yellular: You know the guy, he’s in Superstore, his cell is cutting out, someone on the other line is talking him through Pasta Shapes 101. And he’s going absolutely yellular, screaming: Linguine? What? I can’t hear you! Farfelle? What? Cavatelli? But I digres....the boy did well, figured many things out on his own and is well on the way to adulthood by the sounds as he described not sleeping, worrying about the crew and the gear, being responsible etc. Who are you and what have you done with my son? So he's on his way and we've waited a long time for THIS aspect of his life to mature.

The week has gone by in a blur as there are the final preparations for work for both of us, home and critters, travel and attempting to get the Captain sprung from hospital - he can't run fast but I considered baking a handgun into a cake for him on several occassions as I advocated for him with discharge planners and nurses at the city hospital who were (to put it mildly) less than helpful in the attempt to get him home. As he told his wife "I can't believe I've been here three and a half weeks and you haven't got a ransom note yet" and was only partially joking. There is some cause for optimism for tomorrow but I sure wish he was underway before we left.

By Wednesday, I did finally get my presentations done (yeehaw), transferred to the netbook (which I absolutely love by the way) stored on the flashstick and printed the notes. Wednesday was the (or else you're not coming) deadline for the packing and haircut for mister which he accomplished by Thursday - not bad for him as he'll be late for his own funeral - but my last travel partner was sure more cooperative than this. By last evening I finished reading Three Cups of Tea even though it meant I gave up on some sleep to do so and yes it was certainly worth it - you MUST read this book!

I had a chat with the baby daughter (of course it involved the transfer of money she's in university and heading over the pond remember?) and she rattled off some pretty impressive marks which will reassure her father and told me about doing injections for premies with RSV so had to reconstitute, draw up and administer the shots so I was blown away (but not really surprised by her technical expertise) and can't believe she's growing up.

Had a message from daughter # 1 who is doing her thing in the financial world - way to go - and a phone chat with a very overscheduled student teacher - hang in there. We're headed off to visit the Capt in hospital, take in Serena Ryder who is performing tonight in the city (and yes she is pretty cool for us old folks to see), sleep a few hours before catching an early a.m. flight to Barbados via Toronto.

So, are we in need of a vacation this year???? You bet. Returning on April 7th so will be in touch then unless we are free and run, run away.

If I had waited until last minute to choose my speaking venue I might be responding to the email I just found but then again none of the listings had an intinerary like I'm heading out on tomorrow:
Caribbean Cruises Destination & Special Interest Speaker Positions Available Some Free, Some 50% off, Some with Air x 1 & Gratuities x 1

And finally to close - and just to explain why I'm taking the netbook for presentations and 'may' get to check email and gloat to those in a North American spring - but not taking my cell phone here is the word of the day listing:

Vacation shows up first in English in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, specifically in the prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale.

In it she complains that her husband spends all his leisure time—his vacation—reading a certain book and not attending to her needs—which must have been urgent since he was her fifth husband.

This talk of books in such a famous source of our knowledge of Middle English confirms that people were reading and writing long before Chaucer took up his pen, it’s just that the further back in time you look, the fewer books survive.

Not only are books lost or destroyed, for old books there were not many to begin with. Before the invention of the printing press all books were produced by hand. In 1476 William Caxton set up the first printing press in England and one of the first things he set about producing was Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. But that was almost a century after they were written so when Chaucer used the word vacation the book he mentions would have been expensive and precious even when it was new.

No wonder the Wife of Bath received a beating when she tore a page out of it.

The roots of the word vacation are older than Chaucer and lead via Old French back to Latin to a root vacare meaning “to be empty.” The American Heritage Dictionary links this back to an Indo-European root eu meaning to “leave” or “abandon.”

So the Latin “empty” represents your office when you are on vacation.

We vacate our place of business, but more so we mentally move out of the mindset of our regular occupation, and that’s what’s at the heart of the word, a mental removal from work.
That’s why dragging your iphone or your blackberry along means you aren’t really on vacation.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pumped plus

Since today was a sentinel moment I’m updating you on Friday evening. This morning the wannabe Captain started living his dream as he left for a two day fishing trip as THE Captain. As the hired man asked his Dad this morning when the boat pulled away “Is this his first trip, I mean on his own? He reversed around the wharf then headed out like he knew what he was doing” And of course he should by now, know about handling the boat and emergencies (as evidenced by the last trip) and quite a bit about how to fish the gear, it’s more about locating the fish that’s worrying him he told me and I reassured him this is what every Captain feels every trip.

When I had a call this afternoon from his father asking for the Air Miles number as the boy had stopped at Sobey’s to pick up a grub order he disclosed the lad had left for fishing about 3 hrs before. When I called the boat cell a very excited newly minted Captain answered and I told him jokingly that he had to come back and pick up his brown bread I’d baked for him and he said “not going to happen, I’ve already been back once” When I asked what for he said “forgot to hail out” which is a regulatory requirement for the fishery. Captain’s have to call in to a DFO central number and register the vessel with the voice recognition program (mind you the boy was so excited he got to speak to a human as the computer didn’t recognize the language he was speaking) so that when they’re on the way in they hail in with an ETA and estimated weight of catch so that Catch Monitoring can arrange for a weighmaster to be present when the boat lands to take out the fish. So I said “just settle down, it’ll be okay, everyone had a first day at some point, I remember when your father started out” And I do recall that he was every bit as PUMPED as his son. So I should get all my presentations done for the trip, as I’m sure I’m not going to sleep until Monday when they return.

The travel partner is heading down to the city tomorrow to visit the Captain who is still being held captive in the hospital and is understandably getting a bit stir crazy. This will be an opportunity to pick up the Serena Ryder tickets for the show she’s giving on Friday night which we’re catching before we head out – means we won’t have to wait in line on Fri. I’ve begged off because I have (as usual) too much to do with the departure date looming. I am really taken with my netbook though so that helps with the getting into it.

I’m off to make some Lady Hannah tea (a healthy guilty pleasure) and get started. I had a boost where I found someone in the Cayman Islands tourism department who offered 500+ free, not copyrighted photos of the Caribbean to me which means I won’t have to dick around with the original plan of crediting each slide, burning and mailing to Texas a CD of my presentation as requested by the egotist photographer I first stumbled upon. I picked up my library book, which is Three Cups of Tea, and it comes highly recommended so I really want to read that before I leave. I leave you with the quote of the day:

"Ask yourself what you would do even if you were never paid. That's a clue to what you should be doing and of course finding a way to be paid for it. You can attract more money from love."— Dr. Joe Vitale: Marketing and Copywriting author, one of the stars of The Secret

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The netbook has landed

Well as you see from the photo on the right, Gary has now become computer literate. I was attempting to show the scale of my new Dell netbook and thought a 20 lb. cat next to a 2.3 lb mini laptop would show you show compact it is. Of course mister had been checking it out until...I brought the camera out when he promptly got down so I was forced to put kitty treats next to it. But you get the idea. The netbook is just the cat's meow. It fits in the new purse/backpack I got at Frenchy's for the trip, handles my wireless mouse just fine, looks sturdy enough to take the traveling it's going to do and is cute besides. What's not to like? I've just loaded Microsoft Office so I can run my Powerpoints - what is not to like? The two men in my house are dancing back and forth from one foot to another to get the laptop wiped so it can be installed on the boat for the 3D navigational program. So I have my marching orders.

This has been a busy week as I attempt to get my presentations together, and I estimate that I'm about 1/2 way there on both - not too bad as there are nine more sleeps until we leave. I found a pair of city shorts and a lacy top for formal night on my home from a CISM session (this stands for Critical Incident Stress Management) and for once it wasn't connected to me or my family! So, I'm gradually gaining however, I'm covering for both team members in both programs in the district facility all next week, still have to organize the house and critters, get things together, pack and of course get the life partner in gear. He did run the clippers over his face so does not look quite so much like mountain man and this is usually a sign that he is planning to get the twice yearly haircut - good thing as I told him I was going to braid the bottom and leave the thinning top if he didn't.

The Capt has spent an extra week in hospital in the city with a few setbacks but the wannabe Capt was down to visit him today and apparently the discharge is planned for Friday. So the tertiary center has finally stepped up to the plate with the discharge planning and it 'sounds' like services and equipment are all in place for his arrival on Friday afternoon. I have visions of his grin not fitting in the ambulance as he exits the QEII. We will feel better having him settled before we head off on vacation.

We had a lovely email from daughter # 1 outlining her plans to continue her education to complete her BBA. Yes! She will of course ace this as she does anything she attempts. The pieces will fall into place as she works out the details I'm sure. Also received a text message from daughter # 3 who had a phone interview for Red Deer summer employment and is really hoping to head out there and spend time with her big sister - would be a good situation for both of them. The prodigal son had called daughter # 2 when in the city today for the hospital visit but wasn't able to connect so they headed off to supper and then a rotten drive home in snow/slush. Will spring ever come?

If you haven't already done so you MUST read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. There is a reason that it remains on the best seller list. It is a very entertaining, fast read and not to be missed. Much better than his previous Tipping Point and Blink which were both great. Well, I must move along as it's only Wednesday but feels as if the week has had double days. Later.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The stakeout

This morning is a gorgeous sunny morning the type which you could allow yourself to believe that spring may actually arrive this year, in fact so sunny that the solar gain through the front windows has caused me to put the ceiling fan on for circulation and consider hanging the laundry out. This is the calm after the storm though as last night we ‘got a bit of wind’ here where the windows were bowed in and out with the force and the wind gusted down the chimney (well really vent pipe) for the propane fireplace. Whatever was going on with the fireplace caused the kitty boys (as evidenced by the photos) to go all CSI and try to figure out the phenomenon, with Stanley finally heading up on the mantle while the other two checked out below. Klyde gave up the surveillance first after about 45 minutes and meandered off for a nap but Gary who had begun the stakeout, and Stanley who feels he must do anything his hero does, were still staring at the front of the fireplace when I headed off for bed at midnight.
After the domestic chores are underway Keely and I are booked for a walk, then I have some Powerpointing to do if I'm going to make that presentation deadline. Hasta leugo.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Two weeks from today

Well, since two weeks from this date I will be putting the last minute touches on the packing, I really should get my act together and do my presentation but...procrastinating is so much more fun. I ordered a netbook for the trip which is supposed to arrive by Tuesday so it will be fun to put the Powerpoints on that - maybe it'll make me more dedicated. I did find some t-shirts at Frenchy's so my cruise wardrobe is as chic as it's going to be I think.

The Capt. is (not surprisingly) doing really well. I spoke to him today and he tells me that he was up three times the length of the hall and the Rehab person coudn't catch him the last time. He has all his tubes could be discharged home (not to the community hospital but home) as early as tomorrow afternoon but the hold up will likely be getting equipment and services in. I have been interacting today with his WCB case worker and hospital discharge planners - oh excuse me - they're called patient transfer liason now today and it's a wonder anyone ever leaves a hospital! I told him that since he had time on his hands and was bored, he could direct things from his bed and gave him some of the contact numbers as he needed something to do. Hopefully by Monday the logistics will be worked out and he'll be homeword bound.

There has been talk that the understudy Captain (aka prodigal son) will be taking a trip fishing with his inaugural voyage next week. I told his father that this would have to happen on the weekend as I will have to be sedated to stand it and can't be medicated that heavily and still attempt to work! According to the marine weather the window of opportunity may be Sun/Mon and this fits nicely with the shore captains' proposed business travel to Bangor, Maine for discussions re: fish stocks with Canadian/US industry/government gurus on Wednesday. If he heads out, I may just get things together here in time.

Have you ever tried StumbleUpon? It (or so the description says) delivers increasingly relevant content as it is a personalized recommendation engine. Check it out:
I am thinking (whine whine) that it is something I would enjoy IF I had highspeed internet access.

Well, enough putting it off, Powerpoint here I come.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lion weather

Another day, another ice storm. If March is in like a lion, I'll certainly be looking for the lamb on the exit. Oh wait, never mind I'll be in the caribbean then and I sure won't be thinking of that!

Today, I made it over half way to the district facility on very ice encrusted roads which caused the drive to be double the time to begin with only to find out that the orientation session I was to present at was cancelled. And apparently cancelled since at least Wednesday by some reports, so not a great start to the day. It was 10:30 a.m. before I made it in to work after the circuitous route, never mind, closer to 4 p.m.

It was really pouring after work so I dropped a coworker off at her house and then noticed the engine light on so that necessitated a trip to the garage. They tell me it was a sensor saying the evap fill needed replacing - apparently this is the pipe to the gas cap - but it could wait a bit. They reset the sensor, said it would come back on and I'll have to head back in later in the week. The mechanic casually mentioned the life partner had an appointment to have his truck serviced tomorrow and had told them I'd bring it in. Nice to know.

The Captain continues to do well in hospital and is hopeful he'll be heading in the direction of home (or at least our local hospital) by the first of next week. They're planning on getting him up a bit in the next few days and he continues to improve. His Dad passed away this morning at the nursing home where he was living and although he was suffering and it's a blessing he's at peace, it's tough timing. I stopped for a visit on my way home after work and his mother says they'll plan a memorial in a few months when things are settled and the boys can be there with the Capt. on his feet and his brother home from Brazil where he works on oil rigs. They've sure had a rough patch in that family lately.

I dropped by the post office - this is how folks on rural routes who have had their mailboxes killed collect their mail - and found a letter from the western daughter with the BEST part of my day. Can you believe that she mailed me a baggie of Lady Hannah tea???? I am so glad they don't have tea sniffing dogs at Canada Post. How do you suppose she knew that was what I needed, especially today?

I must sign off as I have just had to intervene as there was an ambush (Stanley) of Keely (retaliation) in the mud room. My nerves are shot.