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.