Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jimmy Buffett was where?

As we left the intrepid blogger she was looking forward to a day off  but....it was not to be. Answering the phone at 5:10 a.m. is never a good idea when you work as a nurse but especially so when you work in a short staffed facility and thus I spent my 'day off'. It played out like this... phone call, thump of boy captain's feet hitting the floor, thump, thump, thump, slam of the front door and whir of a truck engines and then fading sound of tires on crushed stone and he made his way to the shore. I had a very confused conversation with the co-worker who was attempting to convince me to come to work as I kept saying "I can't come today but I can't remember why" and then put the extension in the bedroom on the bed and wandered out to the calendar, looking at it from a distance of two inches thinking there might be something written there that would help me but nope. Later my co-worker said they'd had a discussion as to whether I'd fallen back to sleep and the other one says "no she went somewhere" which I had indeed. I pick up that phone and say "I don't think I can come but I won't see you stuck, call me back if you can't find anyone" and pad back to bed.

Of course the phone rang 15 minutes later and I did remember this time that it was my car troubles which were the reason. The shore captain assured me the vehicle would start and if not he would drive me in as he was still home planning to go gunning first thing. The car did indeed start, I had the mechanic come and pick it up and was glad to have the overtime shift to pay the $215 bill for the cam sensor. And when I asked what a cam sensor was he says "it senses your camshaft" so that really cleared things up. The day provided lots of entertainment as there are major changes in the ED medication system as well as the inpatient unit, but overall not a bad shift. I did ask for Friday off and couldn't have it "in case someone called in sick" but more likely due to the two page letter to administration earlier in the week re: med cabinets.

By Saturday the arse was dragging the ground of course and it was a wild weekend work wise. The boy captain was in at daybreak with mechanical problems having been towed in with engine failure. He had a good idea of the cause and the diesel mechanic met him at the wharf with parts and had them underway again by 10 a.m. but it sure made for a long day.

Sunday morning was spent catching up with the western daughter as we had a good chat. The afternoon was spent attending the funeral for the neighbour and it's an especially hard time of the year to be saying goodbye to someone. All the local fishermen stayed in from traps and attended the service, there wasn't a free seat to be had. Sunday night was crazy busy and of course was the first of several holiday work parties so for this one we had breakfast so I shelled lobster and we had scrambled eggs and lobster as my contribution. We exchanged gifts and I received a crafted ornament of a skate. Hmmm I must take a photo to post for you to see, it's beautiful.

After a sound sleep all day Monday night was a repeat of the previous, except that it was less crazy and we had creamed lobster. The shore captain had cracked the rest of the crustaceans and I cooked up a large batch. The first creamed lobster of the season is always the best.

A good nap and off to town in the afternoon for a massage and errands. I checked my email and discovered that the Rural Nursing Program I had applied for had only two applicants in the whole province so of course wasn't being given. My application was transferred to the Emergency Nursing Program and the distance portion begins the end of January. As the shore captain says "if you ever go north it'll be good to have" and there is no arguing with that logic. After running errands I made it home late but was still the first one through the door. Apparently the major storm had meant many of the lobster fishermen had smashed traps which had to be landed. The boy captain had his in deep water so they were only 'scurfed up' but not damaged so personally he was okay. Some of the fishermen had only 50 traps left so not enough to continue with. There were trailers full of smashed traps on their way to the dump. Very discouraging.

Wednesday a friend and I headed out for a girl's day out to Lunenburg. This is something we'd been planning for some time but life kept getting in the way. We made a full day of it visiting Pineapple Creek which is a great craft shop if you're looking for a special gift:
http://www.yelp.ca/biz/pineapple-creek-lunenburg
The owner was chatting with us and said "I have to get some things out of my van, I'll be right back" and my friend says "yeah, we'll rob the store while you're gone" which elicited the reply "yes, the two of you look like you're really going to do that". So the owner heads out and starts retrieving from her vehicle while we continue to browse. The phone rings. I say to my friend "we better answer that as they won't think she's open" so my friend picks up the phone while calling out "I'm going behind the counter now" and says "Pineapple Creek may I help you?" Apparently the caller was looking for WebKinz which I discovered on one of the shelves so my friend says "yes, we have those" but then the questioning got more specific so my buddy is forced to confess that she's not the owner she's a customer so she says "may I take your number an have her call you back" but the owner appears at the door then saying "did you sell lots for me?" so she's given the phone and conducts her business. I'm sure that anywhere else (or at least most places) that kind of behavior would not be happening.

We had full intentions of having lunch at Large Marge's which we had not tried but it like Magnolias (which we both enjoy) was closed for the season. On the recommendation of the lady at Cilantro (a gourmet shop and chocolate store) where we spent lots of time browsing and test driving gadgets - see for yourself:
http://cilantrocooks.com/index.html

For lunch which my friend treated me to, we tried Fishcake which was wonderful. Here is their website:
http://www.fishcakecafe.com/
The bonus was that I discovered that Jimmy Buffett - yes THAT Jimmy Buffett enjoyed the lobster chowder there. When I questioned the server/owner she confirmed that yes he had visited in August having landed his float plane in the harbour and coming up for lunch. To think that a parrothead like myself had somewhere missed him being two hours away. Hmmm.

We wandered the town for the afternoon visiting the dollar store or the Loonie Toonie as it was called. My friend commented that we were a ways from the five and dime. Good finds there. Stopped a the Black Duck Gifts and Gallery:
http://www.blackduck.ca/
which is always a favorite and then headed homeward. Stopped at the fabric store to pick up supplies for the friend and then a good shop at the Bridgewater Guys Frenchy's - one of the better ones. We both scored well and were pleased with our finds.

Arriving home at 7:30 p.m. to discover that the shore captain was planning to air freight lobsters in the a.m. was a shock to the system, especially when he said we had to leave no later than 2:15 a.m. ! First a stop at the freezer for the salt pollock and frozen haddock fillets then over to the tankhouse to pick up the lobsters. Each one had to be individually chosen to make sure they were fit to make the trip. As we headed out the snow flurries started and we ran into and out of the white stuff all the way to the airport. We arrived in good time and the hunt began for West Jet Cargo which apparently doesn't exist as we circled the other airlines hangers and finally actually asked for directions as it was getting close for time as the shipment had to be checked in two hours before the 7:30 flight. The shore captain had been arranging the shipping with West Jet Cargo in Montreal so there were no directions. No way could we locate the building but we finally accidentally found FedEx and Gateway (which would explain why we couldn't find it) with a lone employee working in the refrigerated warehouse, no buzzer to ring, no phone number to alert them to our presence and and the clock ticking. I jumped up and down and banged on the garage door windows startling the employee who let us in, very efficiently checked the lobsters through, provided the Calgary pickup info and stacked the crustaceans with 50,000 lbs of other lobsters heading to Europe. So we were free, relieved and headed into the city.

We stopped to pick up the teacher daughter, had a visit at Tim Horton's while the shore captain had a lobster conversation with one of the fishermen about lobstering. In fact this was the first of ten work cell phone calls he had before we made it home with me chauffeuring. We dropped the teacher off at school and headed on our way home. Had a call from the western daughter before we made it out of the city as she was headed down to pick up her seafood shipment. Stopped in Liverpool for a tea/coffee and headed over for a few groceries at the Superstore. That short experience reminded me why I DON'T take the shore captain shopping as he sighed, paced and finally outright walked towards the checkout. "Thanks for all the help" I told him, it'll be another few years before I repeat that again. I spent the remainder of the day puttering as I was not very productive. Had a call from the western daughter saying how frisky the lobsters were on arrival and that they were planning to enjoy the 'feed' shortly.

Friday was spent in holiday preparations as there were snow flurries. Baking - did I mention I am in love with my new kitchen center?, wrapping, eggnog to sip and of course the usual housework before heading back to work on the weekend. Frantic is the best descriptor for the weekend shifts and today was spent wrapping, decorating the house for the holidays and.....back to work tonight.

Explorer of the Seas  (Feb 27 - Mar 11)
I've been working on a plan to move my vacation further ahead and so checked with the entertainment agency to see if the cruise I'd applied for was still open. It wasn't but they hadn't taken it off the webpage however the agent suggested another itinerary for the same dates. This is a 12 night southern Caribbean and it departs from Cape Liberty, New Jersey meaning airfare is not required to further south and you sail for about a day and half in the cooler temperatures first and last. I ran it by the shore captain and we'll 'think' about it. It's a few new ports of call and it will sure be warm so we shall see. It would be a few destination lectures but at least I've been to the ones I'd be talking about this time.

Time to start the morning work so I must head upstairs. Only one more shift before I'm off for the holidays. Yeehaw

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hired men

Just back from a morning course NRP which stands for Neonatal Resuscitation Program and it is something I don't wish to have to use any time soon. The last time I recertified we were still doing deliveries at our hospital and that hasn't happened for at least 15 years so it was a bit of slog to get through the material and manage demonstrating the skills back to the instructor. One more recert on the resume as I tick off the bucket list.

I'm offering a trio of videos about nurses from the patient perspective - get the kleenex out - I figured out the link directly as opposed to FaceBook for those not so inclined. They are from the States, sponsored by a large corporation and take over half an hour to watch but they are good.

http://www.rnrounds.com/video/patient-perspectives-1-nurses
  
 http://www.rnrounds.com/video/patient-perspectives-2-nurses

http://www.rnrounds.com/video/patient-perspectives-3-nurses

Make me remember why I went back to 'hands on' nursing over a year ago and why I haven't regretted that decision for 30 seconds yet.

Had sad news today as the shore captain left a message on the phone while I was at the course telling me that our neighbour had passed away following strokes two weeks ago. He was a character with a capital C and wouldn't have wanted to live with the deficits he was dealing with. Made a call to his widow and have baked brown bread and pineapple squares for the family.  Sigh.

The boats have been in the past two days due to wind and had to call it in early today as it was + + rough. Catches are still hanging on though and the boy captain is getting trawls ready to move his gear further outside, as that is where the lobsters are. He left some of them in the mud room last night.  
Yup, looks good to me


Make sure you tie it up right boy
When I arrived home from scrapbooking I found the hired men working on the gear. It's pretty obvious who is the boss is as you can see Captain Gary peeking out of the middle and the other two checking things out.

With the amount of snow we encountered on our drive home today we might have as well have been in Nunavut. It's so (wonderful) strange that we live in the banana belt and have only had rain the past few days yet a few km. up the road it's a winter wonderland. Hasta as I must head out and get my haircut. Don't want anything to get in the way of 'day off' tomorrow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lobsters crawling up the side of the boat

Well, almost a week since an update so I must apply myself to catching up on life in the fast lane. Actually I applied myself all afternoon to working through my NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program) workbook and doing the self-test. A bit of a slog as I hadn't covered the material since the mid 90s and necessary as the refresher is Wednesday morning. The fact that I've had the material for a month is irrelevant.

Didn't get a chance to do any studying on the four shifts I just completed as there was very little down time. On the first day shift my work partner and I just narrowly missed hitting a coyote as it barreled across the highway in front of us at 6:15 a.m. The only thing good about the LD was the lobster sandwiches I took for the ER nurses and Dr. And of course we can eat quickly and standing up so they didn't go to waste. The first ones of the season always taste the best.

Thursday was spent attending an all day union meeting, home to make supper and back for a night shift. I did leave a casserole on the counter from the back of the Stove Top dressing box which looked bad but tasted good. Needless to say I was a bit foggy when I made it home Friday morning (especially after having ordered and consumed a Bubba Sub from A-1 Pizza which didn't agree with me - getting too old to eat like that at 1 a.m)  finding.....the shore captain standing on the doorsteps. He apparently had been put ashore by the boy captain and since they hadn't communicated well, he 'assumed' that he had a way to the shore with the lad who left without telling him. When he asked me to drive him (I thought to the plant which would be a 45 min. round trip) I refused. It did turn out that he meant to the local lobster tank house which is only 5 minutes away as I found out when I got up at 4:30 p.m. and called to see if my car would be returned.The shore captain picked me up (after forgetting me just 2 minutes after he called to say he'd be by, turning around and tracing his tracks) and I retrieved the car and headed off to work.

Friday and Saturday nights were busy in large part due to a change in the medication system where cabinets in each patient room hold the meds. Or at least they're supposed to, that was the problem.I have given medications to 45 residents in long term care in an hour less than it took for me to medicate seven patients on the weekend. Making such changes on a weekend is a poor idea. Arrgh. The fact that my co-worker didn't make it in for the second night shift according to the note the boy captain left stating she had a "mygrain headack" proved that.

He was less than impressed with his day as well due to having caught about 60 feet of rope in his prop and having to come in early to have a diver remove it. The lobster season overall is going well. Landings are up, but not so great weather wise. Today (and likely tomorrow) are a write off as was last Thursday too. The main problem is having enough crates to keep going as the catches are so high which is a good problem to have. The boy can catch em though as he's landed as much the first day as the shore captain did starting out in a full year.  When local folks spend their money before they catch it the local expression is that 'the lobsters will have to crawl up the side of the boat this year' and they almost are. The price isn't exceptional but manageable and the quality will be better if they're not held. Lots of extra duties in the way of baking for lunches and late meals for moi but I've become accustomed to that over the years.

Sunday was the first time I haven't had something scheduled after a night shift so I slept until the afternoon, read the paper, made seafood chowder (of lobster, halibut cheeks and salmon) and biscuits, baked brown bread, walked the dog and my indignation over the med cabinets caused me to compose a two page epistle to our illustrious leader. Very productive day. 
Have been changing the bear daily on the wall hanging as he looks for Christmas under instruction of the three away from home daughters. Even emailed a photo to the teacher daughter to share with her grade primary/one class so they could understand the concept. Must get myself geared up to do some holiday stuff me thinks.

I have a weekly massages booked and this is weekly because it's paining me to leave benefits unused. Had such a busy summer that I didn't get them scheduled and now the calendar year is ending. That won't be happening in 2011 I can assure you.

Had an online chat with the former co-worker who headed up to Iqaluit and he shared that he'd received his first pay stub and was making $48.82 per hour, with 6% vacation pay and $519 northern allowance which means he cleared $2673.84. And to top that off he has a subsidized apartment which includes heat, lights, local phone - everything but internet - for $1100 and they neglected to deduct his rent. He had been out to Ottawa for a family visit as they celebrate the holidays early and his sister had given him air miles to travel on so he brought back 200 lb. of food. I told him he was a foodlegger.

Well, off to read the novel I downloaded to the Kobo last summer as this is the only time of the year the shore captain doesn't have his hands on it. I'm reading Water for Elephants and it's a great story, just have to find enough minutes in the day to finish it up. Hasta.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The oxen whisperer

Well, to begin...the explanation for the title. On Saturday morning my work partner and I were dropped off at the intersection of the 100 series highway and as we started (me) and scraped ice (she) my car, we heard ox bells.There were two not quite fully grown oxen making their way down over the hill towards the main road. So we hopped in the car and sped across the intersection to head them off. I deeply regret that I did not have my camera as my friend leaped out of the vehicle and pointed the ice scraper at the larger of the two oxen (and obvious ringleader) while I headed them off by pulling in front of them with the car and honking the horn. The less determined of pair headed off into the cemetery graveyard but the other fellow stood his ground. My friend was trying to remember the terminology for stop, having more livestock experience than myself but....the two of them were out for a romp so I'm not sure it would've mattered. I found one of the local residents and said "are those Ray's oxen?" but he replied "no, I've called Dale" and there he came at a breathless trot with a rope and a bucket of feed. Both oxen were wandering behind the cemetery fence as we headed home to our beds. 


After a short nap we headed out to Yarmouth on my mission. I was very excited to actually claim my rain check for the kitchen center. I managed to pick up all four things which the shore captain had cut out from their flyer as well (and I think that was a first as well) not to mention that my friend won two $5 gift certificates from Coles books so a very productive stop. Off to do some gift research for the offspring then back to Staples and WalMart. Picked up all sorts of sales and goodies and out to the car by 6 p.m. to find that we were in the middle of a hail/snow storm which preempted a trip to Frenchy's and made for a slower trip home as we were in and out of the inclement weather.  

Made it just in time to get supper on the table as the menfolk were keeping long hours with the last minute preparations. Part of the preparations were putting on the buoy catcher (or cage) on the fishing boat which left on Sunday. A buoy catcher is needed during lobster season so that rope from the traps doesn't get tangled in the prop as they steam by. This necessitated crawling around on the slip wearing chest waders and apparently the shore captain took a tumble, flapping around for a while before righting himself. But the major problem of the exercise was finding the bolts and nuts to apply the cage with. Did the prodigal son know where they were? How about the Captain who takes the fishing boat? Nope. A search of vehicles and storage areas was futile. So, the shore captain takes a run to the hardware store to pick up some more. When the tide goes out, leaving the stern exposed and they prepare to put the cage on.....there are the bolts with the nuts threaded on according to the boy. 

At home the shore captain and prodigal son were having a 'discussion' and when I checked to see if there were any casualties the boy says "can you imagine, the hired man talking back to me like that!" which caused me to point out that his father wasn't even the hired man, he was the third man or 'nubbins' in local slang. When I asked his father how things were going he said "fine if I don't try to tell him anything" so I suggested that he should start doing just that! I am planning to apply for a position as UN peacekeeper when lobstering is over! The best part was the shore captain making comments that things were left until the last minute. And no, he wasn't struck by lightning but I did point out to Mr. Last Minute that he wasn't short on gall. The lad said "he thinks I can't do it" and I told him the problem is that his father is afraid that he can and is working himself out of a job as he has 'letting go' issues. 


I am sure there is a message for both of them in the quote of the day 
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Buddhist proverb


Sunday was spent in pursuit of education as I did a Red Cross Level 1 Disaster Course. Something to add to the resume for international missions and certainly interesting for doing community support for fires etc. Lots of good eats and friendly company.

Very pleased with the kitchen center as I've tried chocolate chip cookies and bran muffins with great success, the biscuits were too dense but I continue to experiment. Makes life a LOT easier with the cookie dough especially. 

Today was the first day of the lobster season as the fleet headed out to set traps.  After self medicating with gravol, pacing for a bit, jumping out of bed several times before 9 p.m. complaining that he was NOT going to be able to sleep...the shore captain slept like a log and he and the boy Capt. headed over by 5:30 a.m. to get ready for the big day. I called to see when they'd be in for the second load of traps and headed over at 10 to get some photos. Apparently the only problem of the morning had been miscounting of buoys so a couple of traps had to do a return trip but nothing major. It was cool, they were a bit later than anticipated and I stepped in salt bait with my better sneakers so they have to be washed but other than that not a problem.
leaving with the 2nd load of traps
FV Kylie Ann headed in for 2nd load
Captain, hired man and nubbins loading traps
When I got home and started my domestic chores of making brown bread and cookies for lobster lunches, harvest soup (yummy with pork, squash, apples, carrots and potatoes) and herb bread and doing some laundry. I checked the mailbox and finding a bill from Bell Mobility I called their toll free number because...I don't have a cell phone with a monthly bill. When I reached 'David' we discussed that I have a cell I add time to with a card and the turbostick was canceled in the spring. It turns out that the $60.25 I 'thought' I paid the house phone bill last month through my online banking was applied to my defunct account. David assured me that I would be refunded the money in......74 days! When I questioned that length of time he advised this was because my account was inactive. I said "nothing personal David but you must be really proud to say you work for Aliant Mobility when such a large corporation does crappy things like keep my money for two and a half months after a simple error!" So I await my refund cheque which will arrive in the winter, must actually pay my land line phone now and will most certainly remove the turbostick account from the list of online banking payees. 


The menfolk did not have a lot of awake time after arriving home, eating supper, showering and falling into bed. They'll be up at 2 a.m. to head out to haul traps as they are able to haul them one minute after midnight. Another long day tomorrow for them. Hopefully the nubbins holds up as the boy Captain is concerned that he has to take someone of such an age who gets so many cell phone calls. Hard to get good help I told him. 

If you're looking to check out what's happening in the world, here are some stats:
http://www.worldometers.info/ 

Should you be looking to start a cruise in Fort Lauderdale (sigh) or just travel there I offer the following article:
http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/travel/28lauderdale-hours.html 

And since it is getting that time of year for advent calendars and of course in this household 'the bear finding Christmas wall hanging' I include this link to some directions for a cute advent hanging:
 http://blog.makingmemories.com/2010/11/advent-calendar.html  

I'm off to town tomorrow for a massage appointment, grocery shop and a go at Frenchy's. Life is good. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cheesecake and Parrot Security Screening

In the middle of two LNs. Took half a cheesecake to share last night. I tried the recipe from the Kraft - Whats Cooking magazine that arrived. And yes I did use light cream cheese. It's yummy and easy as far as cheesecakes go:


http://www.kraftcanada.com/en/recipes/toblerone-topped-caramel-cheesecake-114427.aspx

I'm also anticipating that I'll be able to make lots of cheesecake with the Merry Christmas to me present I'm picking up on Saturday. I got a call from Canadian Tire that the rain check for the KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer is in.

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/8/KitchenBath.jsp?locale=en


I have coveted this for some time and when it went on sale last week sent the shore captain in search of it while he was shopping for a compressor . He came home instead with the rain check. I'm amazed as I've NEVER had a rain check promise fulfilled at Canadian Tire in my life. So, should the LNs and our families be good to us a friend and I will head up on Saturday when we arise and pick up some goodies (hopefully) out of this weeks flyer.

This is of course one of the busiest times of the year as our area readies for lobstering. Here's a link to a local blog with a couple of videos for those who haven't witnessed the frantic:

http://discovershelburnecounty.blogspot.com/2010/11/dumping-day.html

The western daughter called with greetings of the lobster season and shared that Calgary was out of the deep freeze as it had been in the - 40s last week brrr and was the second coldest place on the planet after Antarctica and that was only by 5 degrees warmer! So 3 c and sunny was positively balmy to her.

In these hectic times a little levity is required. The parrot security screening story is one which I can't take credit for but was related to me by the shore captain's secretary who had not been having a really rough week with family illness (her father with a high risk history out west having major surgery so she and her son had visited for 10 days) and death (mother-in-law passing away at the local nursing home the day after she returned) and was quite giddy when she told it.

Apparently her son had purchased a parrot while in Calgary. Enough said. He was flying Air Canada (they do not allow parrots to fly with them so remember this should it happen to you) and she was flying West Jet (who do, so remember that as well) and brought the parrot to Nova Scotia for her only son. It did appear to me that she was not a big fan of parrots to begin with and less so after the following experience. He purchased a carrier - not clear if it was a parrot carrier or simply generic - but at any rate this carrier had to scanned through (as we and all our stuff has to be) at the airport security. As she stood in the security line she was told that the parrot had to be taken out of the carrier and the container scanned. One of the security personnel apparently had worked in a pet store previously and advised she should ask for a separate room to take the parrot out in . The secretary did and said (disgustedly and you'd have to understand what an absolute clean freak she is to really appreciate this part) "it was probably the room they use for strip searches, ick" and it seemed this was the worst part for her. It did make sense when you visualize the parrot up very high in the ceiling of the terminal if not. The parrot apparently didn't appreciate the security screening any more than humans do and protested loudly, got caught in the female security person's hair and more. Back in the carrier, on to the plane and home to Halifax. The secretary said that they called as the son (and parrot) headed home to Fredericton and the response was "the bird threw up" so he must have had motion sickness. She spent the drive home worrying about if he was concentrating on driving, had put the vehicle off as he was distracted etc. Arriving home she waited for a phone call or message and finally checked email finding a message that said 'the bird and I are beat, night' so could finally relax. I was hysterical as I listened to her tale, sounded like something I'd get caught up in.

Okay, enough yarning.....off to pick up my partner in crime for the night. Hasta


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You call that tech support?

Survived my days off even though they included a trip to the city. Managed to catch a few z z z s after a night shift and then on the drive down play secretary for some government applications. Arrived in time for the shore captain to catch the bureaucrats then a parking lot meeting with the hunting buddy to drop off fish, another drop off to the son-in-law as the teacher daughter was working late on report cards and then grabbed supper at Aroma Cafe Latino and pretended we were in Central America not frigid Nova Scotia for a few moments. Headed down to watch the Mooseheads (play and actually win) while we visited a bit with the daughter and son-in-law in the stands.

Saturday brought a trip to the Seaport Farmers Market, Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council Christmas Market and a stop at the Brewery Farmers Market. This meant yummy treats in the form of a pastries, sausage roll, mango lassi and more. I picked up a beautiful blown glass hummingbird for a co-worker who provided great support during some recent professional issues and a cute cedar 'fish' for my closet. So a great wander to get into the holiday spirit. Took in a second Mooseheads game on Saturday and headed out to Q for supper. It was a great, reasonably priced, casual meal as always:

http://www.qmeats.ca/

Aside from a 1:06 a.m. ? prank call to the shore captain's cell phone a very restful weekend. Sunday morning was breakfast at Cora's and then home. Had a nice visit with the baby daughter who had requested "if I don't take anything can I stay here?" for the weekend. This of course as a follow up to the shore captain having purchased one pillow as she had scoffed a pair of pillows I used for the guest bed from the hall closet. It turns out that he'd only bought one because....he says "you don't want to know how much this cost" and when I DID ask he answers "$36" so that was the obvious cause for the solo purchase - he didn't have $72 on him. Had a nice supper before the daughter headed back at 6 p.m. Fredericton bound after her brother put air in her flattish tire and a call looking for her debit card which apparently must be in her car somewhere. 

By the time the alarm clock rang at 5:20 a.m. on Monday I had not fully recovered from all my shenanigans of the weekend, especially as my shift had been moved back a day but what can you do? Headed out to work a LD and hitched a ride from the 103 meeting spot. It was in actual terms a manageable day - one of the very few we've had in months - so although it was steady we were able to feel as if we were keeping up at least. Lots of domestic duties on the home front and an early night for another LD.

Tuesday was not to be the gift of the day before. By 1 p.m. my co-worker said "that's it! today we ARE getting lunch!" and calls to the inpatient floor for an RN to come relief us for the meal break. By 2 p.m. the relief nurse had been there an hour and none of us have had lunch when the phone rang....Nurse manager for me - "can you go home right now and come back for a 12 hr. night shift as someone called in sick for tonight and I've called everyone?" After explaining that I picked up my co-worker a few km. up the road and we traveled together, thus making her an orphan, a quick check of the time sheet found her a ride home at 7 p.m.and I headed out. When someone commented that I was quick to accept the offer I said "I will eat a late lunch at home, nights have got to be better than this and I will escape the male drama at home, it will be double time for tonight so I'm not heartbroken and I'm outta here".

The three hours at home were spent observing the prodigal son dealing with the justice system to have a year and a half old motor vehicle ticket settled. Since this would involve sitting in court all afternoon tomorrow and ticking off one of the local RCMP officers who mangled the ticket (and yes he would be right but at what cost?) My advice was accept the fact that he will pay $600 more for his insurance due to a ticket he didn't actually get - no seat belt vs no rear tail light - and move on. He was not pleased with my counseling.

As I attempted to get online following the legal interventions I discovered that I couldn't get connected. After trying all the unplugging, replugging, rebooting that I could think off I finally broke down and called an Eastlink tech (where I learned that it was snowing in PEI) and was referred to Cisco (Linksys) my router company. After a very lengthy discussion with a tech whose first language was not English - mind you I don't speak Hindi - he has me plugging in the LAN cable to my laptop, tells me it's only the wi-fi that's a problem and he can assist me with that but .... they only provide free tech support for the first year of the router. I assure him the router is only a few months old as we've only had high-speed internet since June but....when I search out the receipt as he directs I discover that it was in fact purchased (by my niece's husband who was setting up the computer system for me) in September 2009 as that was when the wireless internet was promised but not delivered so in reality it was only used for a few months. He checks with his supervisor and advises that I can have tech support for the low cost of $29.95 - on a $65 router! I tell him that he can put the router where the sun doesn't shine and that I will make sure no one I know ever purchases a router from Cisco! I call the local computer shop where the tech is out on a call but the phone answerer thinks he has a router, I should call back in the morning. I attempt for hours to call The Source where there is no answer. So I give up, do two loads of laundry, a load of dishes, pick up stuff to make surfaces for the cleaning lady to clean in the morning, make a loaf of brown bread and serve up leftovers for supper and head out to work.

The night as you can imagine was....l-o-n-g... due to the sleep deprivation and switched shifts. I did survive it and was pleased to find that I'd lucked into a birthday party celebration for one of the RNs. However eating the amount of food we did at 3 a.m. as we were busy until then was NOT a good idea. I made it home this morning and crashed into bed. I awoke two hours later to the smell of....Mr. Clean. It took a few moments to realize that the cleaning lady was in house and cleaning very quietly in the kitchen. I stumbled up to allow her access to the sleeping quarters and checked the computer. You guessed it.....no problem getting online. So much for expert tech advice! Before long a recently widowed neighbour who I've been assisting with some paperwork called and then arrived for another interaction with the bureaucrats session. After a lengthy phone conversation with a civil servant who was actually quite helpful we discovered (three months since her husband's death) that you have to change your marital status with the Canadian government to widowed before anything can move forward. Now I must be missing something but a death certificate doesn't do this? The official word is "no, as you might not have been legally married but just calling him your husband" Hmmmm, not something that I'd be doing in my world.

So as I try to divert myself from all the last minute lobster season preparations I  make it a habit to pick up some links to include in my postings and here is one from a friend of daughter # 1

 http://igoogledit.wordpress.com/

Also a link from a great writer, teacher and mentor who has recently begun blogging:

http://sandraphinney.com/

And how could a looking forward to retirement  blog not mention around the world trip planning:

http://www.lostgirlsworld.com/2010/11/how-to-buy-a-cheap-round-the-world-rtw-ticket/

Must go as the couch is calling my name for an afternoon siesta.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crazy on You

Today I feel like Curious George - you remember that little monkey? - unfortunately George fell out of an airplane, fortunately he had a parachute, unfortunately it didn't open, fortunately he landed in a haystack, unfortunately there was a pitchfork. You get my drift eh?

To review....today (or rather tonight) is the shift I scored off - rather a fluke as I have only two other RNs under me on the seniority list but I'll take it. This means I don't have to head back to work until tomorrow evening which is a very good thing after the last two frantic day shifts! And to top it all off, instead of staying at camp for a couple of days after all the kerfuffle to get out of the house on Sunday morning when I came home from work on Monday evening after a very full day I was met by the shore captain, prodigal son and house guest who were in the process of cooking up a man meal - strip loin steaks marinated and ready to BBQ as they trailed the dish across the hall, perogies baking and all of them underfoot. The house guest stayed over to go duck hunting and got caught in a rain squall and left, the others headed off  to gainful employment so Tuesday evening was a more routine return to home experience.

There are plans for a trek to the city this weekend however and I discovered that the shore captain had gotten tickets to both the Friday night and Saturday afternoon Moosehead hockey games so that's a good plan. He apparently has some kind of a meeting Friday in the city and I opened the mail today to find that I'd won (courtesy of answering a question on a poll of the WFNS regarding the Giller winner, Gaspereau press and limited publishing run or e-book) a weekend pass to the NSDCC Christmas sale:

http://www.nsdcc.ns.ca/main/Christmas_market.html

So I shall be able to amuse myself while he meets with a government agency and give the pass to the city daughter for the weekend. May be able to pick up some Christmas gift ideas or at least some holiday spirit as it's been too mild to be thinking of Santa yet.

The man incidentally got tickets for February 3rd to see Heart at the Metro Center and I have to say that Nancy and Ann Wilson have always been his other women, the kids grew up listening to tapes/CDs of these chicks - they have sold over 35 million albums over the years so what can we do? As the only son says about What About Love (which I offer you the YouTube link to here in the 1990 live big hair version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3ezqy4qQps
"that's another great song to come on the radio when you're out there fishing, gets you pumped right up - we sing to it!" I can't imagine what Crazy on You would do to them. It sure describes my day though.

This morning I was awoken by a phone call from the shore captain who was in full panic mode at the plant as he was attempting to complete the documentation for shipping fish, the tractor trailer was to arrive in about an hour and he couldn't get the forms he'd completed to print. His secretary is in Calgary as her father has had part of his liver removed, has a bad heart etc. but is actually making a slow recovery. I talked him through turning off the printer, shutting down the computer and letting it print. A short lecture on NOT hitting print many, many times when it doesn't print the first time I am sure fell on deaf ears.

Turn on that fireplace!
Back problem what problem?

As I puttered about the house getting breakfast and picking up a bit, thinking this is a good day to spend in the pjs with the animals inside.Well, the animals agreed anyway as you can see here.

I heard the dog bell and found one of the local fishermen standing on my back doorstep. The same one who had called about bait (actually one of many who had) while the bait provider was at camp asking if the shore captain was home. They of the much free time and only thing on their minds. Since it was 9 a.m. and the shore captain is legendary in his work hours ex. 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. many days I said "Is he home? Have you been drinking? When have you ever seen him home at this hour of the day?" He protested that he was sober but needed to know about bait. "Right now?" So I moved to the phone dialed the shore captain said "someone here wants to talk to you" and handed the phone to the visitor. He has his chat, thanks me and leaves. Not 10 minutes later he is in the yard again so this time I head him off in the doorway and he tells me he has been to visit his captain and I must take a message. I wait with pen and paper poised and he says "1000 lbs of mackerel and 1000 lbs of herring" which I promptly record, wait and then realize this is the entire message. I think of my last two days with absolutely insane 12 hr. shifts in the Emergency Department of life threatening illness, great small p political upheaval and general angst and manage not to smile, musing to myself 'I guess I can handle that'. When he is on the fifth admonition of "make sure you give him that message" I point at the door and say "NO PROBLEM" and look pointedly at his truck. Even he gets the message and exits.

The phone rings about another 10 minutes on and it's the shore captain AGAIN with the printer problem returned. He is extremely frustrated, + + stressed and has completely lost his problem solving skills. I offer to head over and do a crisis management plant visit but no....I have to spend 10 minutes trying to talk him through some solutions. Imagine trying to describe to someone in grade primary how to do cardiovascular surgery and you'll have no inkling of how successful THAT was. I finally insist I am heading over and make the 20 minute trip to assist. It was a fairly simple fix, although dealing with the shore captain was another matter. There was complete pandemonium until I said "this is like work but everyone here is breathing and YOU are breathing too fast" so he calmed himself a bit. The truck arrived was packed and left with proper documentation, staff were directed, garbage was picked up, nobody died. I did discover at one point that I was still in my pajamas and fastened my jacket up. I stayed for over an hour - screened calls, took messages, took one phone out of his hand when he was on another one, sorted out some of the paperwork, saved the files to the secretary's computer in case this should ever occur again, wrote the directions out on paper and put them under his desk blotter, picked up some of the mugs, dishes etc and brought them home to wash and exited without looking back!

I arrived home to find the back door open in the mudroom as the wind must've blown it when the early morning visitor didn't latch it when he left. I noticed the dog was lying in the doorway to the mudroom and did a quick feline headcount - no one absent. Whew! The prodigal son told me that when he was attempting to have Gary come inside the other day that Keely flushed him out of a tuft of grass and herded him in to the house. Today she was apparently doing security duty. Earns her keep. No more back spasms but one of the physicians at work told me that she has 'oil which cured her dachie' as she raises dachshunds who are known for having problems with their long backs. Not sure if you use the oil internally or externally but I shall find out if the problem recurs.

Spent the afternoon catching up on stuff about the house, phone messages, making appointments and now I've had a call from the shore captain (yes I was brave enough to answer when his number appeared) who is on his way home for supper. 

Am posting two blog links here for you to enjoy should you find yourself looking at running away - it is never far from my thoughts here:

http://www.fromcitytosea.com/category/the-journey/

http://www.novascotiablogs.com/


Tomorrow will be a new day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fur Daughter Recovery

On Friday afternoon as I was getting ready to have the dog take me for a walk there was a change of plans. When she got up from her nap beside me at the computer she was having difficulty standing up as her hind legs weren't working right and she was walking to one side. She didn't appear to have any pain but a very confused look on her face and readjusted her stance wider as if she was walking on ice. I took her outside to see if her leg was just asleep and she fell down repeatedly. Almost brought tears to my eyes. Her back, hip and legs seemed in alignment and there were no tender spots though so I was thinking in terms of a CVA (cerebral vascular accident or stroke) or TIA (transient ischemic attack or mini stroke). I called the vet who was booked for the rest of the day but was given an appointment for the next morning. The receptionist was very kind but said "well, she is an old dog if she's 10" and I took exception to that as she is still very puppy-like. I went for a solo walk which just felt lonely and had myself psyched up for all kinds of bad decisions as fur children are part of the family. Within two hours however the symptoms had completely subsided and she was her usual self without the bemused look. She did get to spend the night (even though it wasn't inclement) in the mudroom though. The morning was a very tense trip (as she has panic attacks in a vehicle) to the vet who checked her very thoroughly and diagnosed a bone/soft tissue misalignment similar to a slipped disc in humans. If it reoccurs and doesn't settle spontaneously she'll prescribe prednisone (popular Rx for critters) but it may never happen again. So the transport was more stressful than the news.

After that intense news here is a great link for a smile - also known as 'fractured English'. I shouldn't be too smug though as I don't have a great command of Mandarin myself:

http://www.engrish.com/

Speaking of world travels, this weekend in the travel section of the newspaper I found an article by Nicholas Rapp. He is traveling around the world having made the trip from New York to Buenos Aires putting his Land Cruiser on a boat to South Africa, flying across to pick it up and now making his way north headed for the Middle East. Here is the link to his blog:


http://transworldexpedition.com/

As well as adventuring vicariously through him, you can also donate $ for gas through PayPal to assist with his trip. My favorite quote of the paper article was in reference to what kind of gun did he carry? "well, I have no gun. I keep pepper spray handy, but running away when I need to is still my best plan" which surely translates no matter which country you find yourself in eh?

The men in my life are having travel adventures today as well, not necessarily as exotic as Asia or Africa or even that unusual in this household but....

I was awoken at 8 a.m. - on a Sunday which happens to be my day off - to the sounds of two middle aged men sounding like two kids getting ready to go outdoors and play. Which they were as they readied themselves for the trek (hopefully) in to camp. Due to the extreme flooding and road closures they had been unable to access the recreation property and I have spent my four of my five days off providing B&B services. This morning the road closure sign had been removed as apparently the bridges had been inspected and cleared and they were in high spirits. The prep required several calls to the prodigal son who hadn't found his way home last night but apparently was on his way to the shore from 'wherever' to work on lobster gear. There were accusations of missing ramps to load the 4wheeler and gas cans, wet clothing and towels found in the buddy seat from the son's trip in to camp in October while we vacationed western parts and several calls to the accused. The preparations took over an hour, a good lot of the groceries and baking from here, made lots of mess with the mud and sticks tracked in on the boots and lots of reminding required from moi "do you have newspaper to start a fire etc?". I was pretty excited myself to see the back of them but I was more into making sure if they were able to access the camp, they didn't forget anything essential and actually stayed there until Tuesday as planned. I handed over the waterproof camera for documentation of the flooding, wished them well and smiled as I watched the truck, two 4wheelers and camo clad lads exiting the driveway in the sunshine.The plan is that they'll either be back within a few hours or not home for two days. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed.

A few moments later as I was enjoying a cup of tea and the newspaper,  the phone rang. It was the only son asking for the plant employee's phone number as he had run out of gas just past this fellow's house on the way home. Why he hadn't chosen to get gas last night on his way to 'wherever' is a mystery. Thankfully he was rescued on his way shortly, not requiring a maternal pickup this time. Ahhh.

Well since my walking partner is up to speed having been taken on a test run yesterday we should be off. I find it hard to concentrate while those sad brown eyes are staring at me and the large sighs are issuing beside me.

Back to work tomorrow for two LDs but I won the lottery when the ward clerk phoned yesterday to ask if I'd like to have Wednesday night off as there were too many staff. This is not a question usually asked of me as I am only third from the bottom of the seniority list and the time off question is seniority list down but...the most senior staff asked declined and the other was actually a newer hire. Of course I'd rather have a day shift than a night off but....beggars cannot be choosers and I'll take having the time versus being paid out. Here's a link which I've copied from Facebook so I hope it works which captures a bit of the nursey stuff:

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1285733963202&comments&ref=mf

Not sure if you have to be on Facebook to access it or not.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wash it for luck

So....the question begs to be asked "if you wash a rabbit's foot....is it still lucky?" And for those animal activists out there I am sorry but rural folks snare and eat rabbits and occasionally give a dry rabbit foot to the cats to play with. Excuse us for our redneck ways but Klyde (our Himalayan of the previous bad haircut) is particularly fond of a rabbit foot. He carries it around, plays soccer with it and loses it under the furniture so the cleaning lady finds it for him when she visits (which she did yesterday) and just generally enjoys it. This morning when I dumped the load of wet laundry into the basket to take to the line a very clean and damp rabbit foot fell out. Hmmm, not lucky for the rabbit but does it remove the good luck charm...

Main road to the camp
I am on the second of my five days off and very pleased to find the sun shining this morning as we have been the target of major precipitation and flooding in this end of the province. The water levels in the local rivers have caused evacuations and taken out bridges, making us glad we leave on the coast. The plan for the shore captain and his hunting buddy was to head to camp but with the state of emergency, roads closed as you can see here on the left and major flooding in that area it remains unclear as to whether that will take place. At any rate the buddy "needs to get away" so has arrived until Monday and I am doing a great job as innkeeper apparently as he has settled in nicely. 

Yesterday after two hours of sleep following a night shift due to the cleaning lady only being able to come Wednesday morning, making brown bread, a run to get $350 worth of groceries in the rain, baking brownies, putting away the trunk load of groceries, cooking supper and attempting to change the spare bed...I hit the wall when I realized that the 'guest pillows' were missing. The ones which are stored in the hall closet and thus not subjected to cats butts or other indignities and saved for visitors. The only plausible explanation is a shopping expedition by a non resident offspring perhaps on the last unsupervised visit? After a frantic search I phoned the shore captain (as it was after all his friend coming to stay and play) to pick up a pair of pillows (I shuddered to think of the cost) as he was getting his truck repaired in the local village. He arrives and I check the bag on the table to find.....ONE PILLOW!! Now I ask you - who would buy one pillow for a double bed???? The answer is apparently a man who has one friend coming to visit. My next project will be to match it. And yes, I admit that in my sleep deprived state I lost it and yelled and had to deal with the hurt look on his face! I think if I had used a weapon that a female judge would have understood.

Delivery to Iqaluit
Iqaluit November 2010
When the friend arrived last evening to catch up on the news with the shore captain I absented myself to check email and chatted online with a former coworker who has headed to Iqaluit and is currently undergoing northern cultural immersion. He has posted some great photos which I have borrowed from Facebook that remind me of my time in Labrador three decades ago. Apparently it was - 7 c and snowing last night, he'd just enjoyed wings at the Legion and was planning a hike today with the camera. I mentioned that the last two months of the Canadian Nurse journal had advertisements for RNs to work for Princess Cruises and he noted that 'the ads made him think of me'. In this spirit I offer the following link to life at sea:

http://landahoyliz.blogspot.com/2010/11/crew-members-cabin-life.html

And if you're simply thinking of travel and not work a couple of neat links from my surfing of a few days ago:

http://beersandbeans.com/2010/11/07/travel-with-friends-vs-traveling-solo
 
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1miVL5/everything-everywhere.com/2010/11/08/my-11-most-memorable-hotel-stays

Today as I was starting out with the fur daughter for a walk my friend pulled up as she had been out for a drive/walk/photo shoot and I convinced her that she could walk again with us. So we had a breezy but sunny trot and yak with a very frisky dog as she hadn't been on the leash since Wednesday due to the monsoons. We checked on the summer neighbours places which were both fine and so they should be as they've survived for many years and many rains. The solar gain from the windows, mild temperatures outside and infloor heating on have required the opening of the garden door to the veranda much to the delight of the felines this afternoon. Speaking of gardens here is a link to the friend of a friend's blog:

http://heidiinthegarden.blogspot.com/

Well, enough catching up, it is time to unwind the clothes from the line and bring them in before I begin supper preparations for one shore captain who will obviously be home at a reasonable time as he has a guest to entertain, one house guest when he returns from a walk in the woods, and hopefully one wannabe captain who has finally finished painting the last of 500 lobster buoys and is off to transport some traps.




Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Burning bushes, oat biscuits and Kindle

 Quote of the day: All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on - Henry Ellis.

I finished up my shifts yesterday morning and the final night shift was a doozy by anyone's measurement. Ended up with my coworker spending an hour in the boss's office discussing a previous situation and then some more phone calls when I made it home. Sigh. Did get about three hours of broken sleep.

Had a great chat with the western daughter after I was somewhat awake and got caught up on her news. She has been accepted for her full time business studies beginning in January. No surprise there as she is a good catch as a student. Got a few (non technical) chores done, supper on the table and headed out to scrapbooking which was a great way to spend the evening. I am beginning to conquer the 2008 Maritimes/New England cruise album but there is a ways to go. Speaking of travel here are a few links I found surfing on Twitter:

http://solofriendly.com/stephanie-lee-an-unaverage-girl/


http://landlopers.com/2010/10/31/annoy-flight/


http://twenty-somethingtravel.com/2010/10/stages-living/
 
http://www.kiwicollection.com/wow-travel/industry-insight/the-real-deal-november

Today was spent putzing around this place doing three loads of laundry, making a stew and some great oat biscuits to got with it from the Sobey's Inspired food magazine, here's the link:

http://www.compliments.ca/en/Recipes/Recipe.aspx?ID=11808

Isn't the burning bush getting big?
The courier arrived at noon time with my white Birkenstocks duty shoes and they are great. I wasn't expecting the $46.24 customs bill either but the total is still $20 bucks cheaper than the city and exactly what I wanted. The driver left our backdoor open while I wrote the cheque and electronically signed the invoice and....Mr. Gary streaked out through the opening and into the woods. His belly betrayed him though and after a very brief game of hide and seek he returned for the kitty treats. Managed to take the dog for a walk after that and yes it is getting cooler but still beautiful. My burning bush on the left to prove it.


After the menfolk were fed and disappeared to snoreland this evening I was checking emails and found that the latest Kathy Reichs novel (Virals) is available on Kobo. A quick check confirmed it was also on Kindle so I almost put my knee out retrieving my e-book reader to download it wirelessly. Amazon makes it way too easy and it's certainly not a problem to rationalize that "it's only $9 for something that would be a $40 hardcover book" when you're pressing the BUY button. This is in no way a complaint, just a statement.

We were discussing Samaritan's Purse at scrapbooking last night as several of the scrappers are involved in packing boxes. Here is the link to the program:

http://www.samaritanspurse.ca/occ/PackaBox.aspx

The lady who hosts the scrapbooking has done a Samaritan's Purse mission to Nicaragua and she said "it's hard to pack a shoebox thinking of children from here and what they have, I remember the kids in Nicaragua would line up for a sticker - a sticker, imagine!!" Instead of throwing the shoebox in the recycling today I decided that would be on to-do list when I head out for my dental appointment tomorrow morning

Oh and before I forget, I'm adding the links for the photography teacher who is a great resource. She keeps a blog as well so even if you aren't local you can benefit:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All's quiet....hopefully

A very nice way to start your day before heading in to a night shift is to.....sleep in and I managed to make out like a teenager as I crawled out of my nest yesterday at 11:30 a.m. Made brown bread, did laundry, hung clothes on the line and took the dog for a walk (those last two ideas were not such great ones as I got caught in a rain squall and had to run for it, bring the clothes in and put them in the dryer) Headed off to work by picking up my coworker and decided to "try this again" with the new tire in place and calmer. All in all an uneventful night which was close to amazing as there were five, count em five, dances in the county and we spent the night anticipating visitors.

Today I slept soundly until from 8 - 4, walked the dog as the weather was sunny and just cool enough, made a wicked scallop burger for supper and left treats out for the trick or treaters as there had been none before I headed out. I warned Stanley to keep a low profile as a black kitty on Halloween can never be too careful. All fingers crossed that tonight will be as uneventful as the previous one.

For some reason the following thought popped into my head 'the only thing better than a quiet night would be to attending a Jimmy Buffett concert' as I am an unapologetic Parrothead. The only complication being there is no concert this weekend.

Due to the q _ _ _ _ (in nursing you NEVER say it's quiet because that will immediately cause it to cease so we say the q word) evening we have just enjoyed I found a few moments to peruse the website for the tropical medicine course that a colleague and myself have aspirations to attend in the winter of 2012. Here's the link:

http://gorgas.dom.uab.edu/

It's pretty clear I have to start saving my pennies eh? Off to write my letters for application. Hasta.

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it ~ Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blow out

Today I was well and truly back off vacation!

It all began when I was woken up at 4:20 a.m. instead of an hour later because....the marine weather had changed and the fisherman who was NOT getting ready to go out called on the shore captain's phone to advise him of this development. I had to go all CSI on it to discover this fact as he originally maintained that there was nothing unusual with his morning routine. I disagreed as he usually exits the house leaving me blissfully unaware of this event. So, I was showered, breakfasted, lunch packed, dressed and email checked by 5:30 a.m.and I was not particularly pleased with this situation.

I stopped, picked up the newspaper at the end of the driveway and pulled out onto the road and immediately felt and heard a loud thump. I pulled over to the side of the highway, ran back and picked up a large sharp piece of metal (a welded arm of a rack on the back of a pickup truck to keep the 4wheeler from going through the back window) which was lying in the road. I checked the passenger side tire (as that was where the metal was located) and headed off to pick up my friend for work. After about a kilometer I noticed a shake and then a roar. "Oh no, a flat and it's a doozy - well, if it happened this quickly the tire is history anyway so I might as well rim it". So I phoned the shore captain to advise him, pulled into my friend's yard with the smell of hot rubber wafting from the drivers side tire and explained she'd have to be the chauffeur. "No problem" she says "come in, I burnt my toast and I had to clean up cat barf off upholstery". Thus our days started.

We head up the main highway and wait for a while for a co-worker (who doesn't appear we discover when we arrive at work because she is ill) and head in. Shortly after arriving at our place of employment it becomes clear there is a staffing issue as we are overbooked and so my chauffeur (who has seniority) is offered the opportunity to take the day off. Not a lot of considering needed for this decision and she's off leaving me an orphan. I phone the shore captain to advise of this development (he's duck hunting in the middle of the harbour) and he agrees to deal with the tire issue. Which he apparently does in the afternoon - I don't want to think of what the tire cost - my fault for making brags of only paying $45 for the servicing last week.Apparently the metal tore the side right out of the tire. Good thing it wasn't someone going  the posted speed of 80 km/hr as I was only creeping as I was just starting out. The shore captain was surprised I hadn't done more underneath damage to the vehicle.

Today I wore devil horns and tail as my costume for Halloween and that was fitting as the environment suited. We started the day with a bang, got no lunch or supper and had a tough one by any descriptor.I catch a ride home with a co-worker passing my exit and pick up my car with the temporary (donut) spare in place and putt home. Shore captain promises to change the tire to the newly purchased one tomorrow before I head in for a night shift. I was met with a duck stew at 7:45 p.m. so hard to feel ungrateful with that spoiling.

Glad to not have to start the day that early tomorrow morning but rather sleep in before the night shift. Ahhh.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

All good things come to an end

Have enjoyed exceptional days off and enjoyed the ones I was 'supposed' to be working the most. Tomorrow will be my last day of getting paid to stay home on vacation and I must head back to the real world. I must say that after a month off....I am somewhat ready to return. Mind you, by Saturday I'll likely be looking for another vacation. One saving grace is that I work one day shift and three night shifts in the rotation this time. Ahhh.

Last Friday I readied myself and headed off to the city to visit the teacher daughter and son-in-law for the night. Stopped to try to find some work shoes and was very disappointed with Oh My Sole. Have just now ordered the pair of white Birkenstock shoes for work at a savings of over $50 which were not available anyway in the style I wanted and so headed next door to The Italian Market:
 http://www.italianmarket.ca

 http://www.yelp.ca/biz/italian-market-halifax-2
 I picked up some smoked salmon pate - a lovely slice with smoked salmon, cream cheese and spinach rolled in almonds. Yummy as well as beautiful and the son-in-law was banned from eating it as he told his buddy that pate looked and tasted like cat food.Well, after the buddy raved about it and he came begging we did take pity on him and allow him in but I couldn't resist asking "what kind of cat food they feed Hank if this is what he's used to?". After consuming the appetizer us girls headed out for supper at a Guatemalan restaurant called Cafe Aroma Latino which is a short walk from their apartment. Here's a review from The Coast:

http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/caf_aroma_latino/Location?oid=1140505

We had guanabana (me) and mango (she) juice, tortilla soup, arepas (cassava pancakes with cheese filling) tamale, quesadillas and a dessert tamale. Nice little cafe that we will visit again for sure. The shore captain is expected to enjoy it as well.

Headed over to the shopping mall to try to find some work shoes (refer to the online purchase above instead) but did discover some great winter boots called Bogs which were not available in my size. Arrgh. Did have a great experience at David's Tea (a tea boutique) with lemon cream, rhubarb crumble and green seduction tea. There is the online feature here as well but I have restrained myself due to my huge stash of Lady Hannah tea brought home from Red Deer. But you might like to try some on: 

Crashed for the night with my earplugs in to reduce the street noise and up in time to hit the Seaport Farmers Market. I treated myself to a warm cornish pastry and fresh apple cider for breakfast and checked out the crafts. The crowds are still large but manageable in the new location.

I wandered over to the cruise trade show and attended some of the sessions learning that river cruising is THE hottest vacation going. Local country speakers are used though so there's no in for a cruise ship presenter likely making it a while before I sample this mode of travel. I did pick up helpful tips and the networking sometimes pays off later. Sure got the bug to go cruising again as it's been just a year since I was last on board a cruise ship.

Slipped away before 2 p.m. and called my friend heading over to pick up some Tetley tea, at her request and Gerber daisies as a hostess gift. We had a great supper of fried Halloumi (Greek) cheese salad and paprika lamb with noodles which were very yummy. We stayed up late to catch up on all the news and made plans for the nine weeks in Peru Tropical Medicine course of February 2012 which we WILL be attending. I headed home in the morning after a quick breakfast and was back to reality by 1 p.m. making an apple pie. Invited our summer neighbour over for supper as she left Monday morning for Iowa City but she had her meal all carefully planned so we wished her well and will see her in the spring.

When I came home on Sunday and called the baby daughter to see what our phone tag of Friday meant she said "I'm almost back to Fredericton now" which begged the question "where were you?" with the reply "I came home this weekend". Of course I was in the city and her father working so when she came to the house there was no one home and she wasn't even able to locate and visit with Stanley. We're thinking apparently he's not as slow as we thought as he didn't want to go back to his life of living on the streets again so hid from his mother.

Tuesday I awoke to hear the various gadgets in the house responding to a power failure and so called NSP about the lack of power. Several hours before electricity was to be restored so I headed out on my errands early. Had a wonderful shop at Bridgewater Frenchy's (always a good place for finds as it is large) and picked up three great pairs of pants, a hoodie, a bowl to leave treats in on Halloween, a plastic bathroom caddy, a cloth storage bin and......the vest I have been looking for all autumn - reversible, doesn't make me look too much like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and still with the tags on. Score! I made it home in time to serve leftovers before I headed out to scrapbooking. Still working on the small cruise album which chronicles the 2008 trip so falling quickly behind in my documenting. .

Today I called a former co-worker who is heading to Iqaluit for a position I referred him for and he is excited and nervous to be heading north. I have instructed him to start a blog and if he does I'll be sure to post the link as I plan to live vicariously through him this winter. He will be making the big bucks but the discussion about all the perks being showered on him reminded me of the quote of the day: 

"Wealth is not a material gain, but a state of mind."
Jerry Gillies

 
I was telling him that I was headed out to a photography class with my friend and that 23 years ago today (as Oct 27th is the prodigal son's birthday) I was in labour. So he says "today is a better day?" and I reply "I was being induced for a 10 lb. baby - what do you think?"  Much easier to put a Pizza Delight gift certificate in a card - food is always a good choice!

The digital photography session this afternoon made the two of up feel we accomplished a great deal as we actually can find and use many of the items in the menus now. Gives you to courage to attempt to use more than just the auto settings on those great cameras. 
 
I came home to pitch the idea of a Mediterranean cruise to the travel partner as I felt an 18 day trip would be just the plan although the Med in February is not beach weather. He didn't bite as he's a fan of warmer climes when the snow flies and suggested perhaps Cuba as West Jet is flying direct to Holguin this winter - meaning we can visit Cuban friends for at least $1000 less than flying through Montreal or Toronto. So, I had another look at the speaking engagements on offer - opting for destination versus special interest and came up with this gig which I threw my hat in the ring for: 
 
http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/cruiseDetails/itinerary.do;jsessionid=0000fme7xmLL42ayqx3BRVFA95n:12hdhu93n?packageCode=JW10L030&sailDate=1110225&date=201101&selectedCurrencyCode=CAD

The Cuban Plan B is always a good second option. Thank goodness for high-speed internet for destination research if they should pick me up. Hasta.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vacation Continued

Since I spent an hour of my time this evening participating in a webinar about blogging, I should spent at least a few minutes updating this one eh? The webinar was sponsored by a genealogy company and was very basic, but you always learn something new and I picked up a few tips.New gadgets are always fun.

Fortunately we have been having lovely autumn weather since our return home so have elected not to turn on the in-floor heating. There have been some frosting mornings though so it is coming. Sigh.  Monday passed in a flurry of laundry as is usual when luggage is unpacked and getting the house reorganized. Sadly I think I have to put the shorts away and dig out the gloves.Finished up the e-book which I had downloaded called Special Sister which is about an adoption from India - very well written - a must read.

Tuesday morning brought a run to town for errands - pick up my boots from Sears which actually don't fit after I tried them on at home, banking, forward mail to daughters, pick up copies of the wills, Frenchy's shop - scored some like new Sketchers sneakers, socks, great tops, pjs, sheets and a jewelry roll. Shopped for $345 worth of groceries and home again. Listened to CBC Radio and called in to Maritime Noon to answer the question of the day which was "What are you going to do with the rest of your life?" I described how I am planning to do some tropical health missions and may have to finance them by working up north as that will give me the same money but more time to pursue other ventures. Dragged the groceries in a put them away while I dealt with bureaucracy for a widow who is attempting to settle her husband's estate - she recognizes that I enjoy the chance to fight with government, even if it's not for myself. Visited the one remaining summer neighbour who is readying herself to head Stateside as well. Spent the afternoon on her warm and sunny deck enjoying a cup of tea. Ahhh.

This morning I washed and hung the Frenchy's finds on the line, headed out for a haircut and then off to run some errands. Picked up a new charger for my camera as I am still only getting about 40 frames to a battery charge so think it must be the charger itself. Selected some Halloween decorations and scrapbooking supplies at the Dollar Store and found myself looking at Dan's Ice Cream Shoppe so what was there to do but head on over? I ordered a quesadilla, salad and a smoothie and enjoyed them completely. Came home to walk the dog, read the newspaper and enjoy a peaceful cup of tea while the cats snored FYI Stanley seems to be settling back into the household routine again and isn't nearly as hysterical as we first found him on the weekend. Took the bike out for a spin today but it was a very short one as there are convoys of trucks hauling asphalt to the paving project a few km. down the road. Hard to imagine having spent a vacation day much better.

Organized some of the trip photos this evening as I waited for the shore captain to find his way home.Checked the weather and it has continued to snow daily in Yellowknife, apparently they always have winter (which stays) before Halloween.Ruggedly beautiful eh?

Yellowknife from the air

A local lake

Yes that is snow!