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.