Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another Sunday

Well, as I reviewed my last posting which spoke optimistically of having supper ready to go etc. I thought of the best laid plans. Yes, I did sleep very well with my blackout curtains and earplugs and awoke to the sound of my alarm at 4:30 p.m. after a full days sleep. Yes, I am the envy of my day sleeping shift worker colleagues. I awoke to the cooked casserole and a sunny day so I decided to take the dog for a walk. My biggest mistake was leaving the front door open while I tied my sneakers. Klyde ventured out for a stroll as he's fond of nibbling on the green shoots in the front flower beds but he always strolls right back in. His (delinquent) sidekick Stanley darted out as well and made a beeline for under the deck. No amount of cajoling, kitty treats, and darting at him as he peeked out were successful, although he did furtively nibble on the trail of treats out of reach. I finally tackled him as he made for the treeline and received a deep bite on my right thumb when he panicked. As I dumped him back in the house I realized the statute of limitations for the dog walk had expired as there was only time for supper and a shower before work. The poor dog always gets the shorter end of the stick with those cats. I came to work to find the full moon had resulted in a very hectic place!

Friday I slept the morning away and when the cleaning lady called at 1:15 p.m. to see if I was up for her to come clean I groggily came to and agreed. I managed to catch up on the news and get myself ready for civilization and took off to do some errands. I dropped in to the MLAs office to do battle about the highspeed internet promise and was told that at my address we would receive highspeed by May from the highspeed tower in Upper Port LaTour! Now we can see the tower about 1/2 km from our house so why would be receiving the signal from 30 minutes away? I was very insistent with the office person that I wanted an answer from someone in the government agency that had given my tax dollars away without any accountability to Eastlink. The MLAs assistant got on the horn to the government department and I gave a geography lesson through the phone in very irate tones to the civil servant who thinks the world begins and ends in Halifax. Needless to say I left without an answer and not much hope that anyone would help me. I did get my grocery shopping done so at least felt like I got something accomplished. Friday night with my Jimmy Buffet novel and butterscotch ripple liquer to sip in front of the fireplace. Ahhh.

Slept in until 11 a.m. yep, you read that correctly - acted just like a teenager as I had the reason of pulling an overnighter. Hung the clothes out in the bright sunshine, but it was misleading because the basket of wet clothes froze stiff in the time it took me to get myself outside after the prodigal son carried them out for me. The laundry did actually dry beautifully though and smelled so lovely. After lunch the bride and groom to be arrived and the afternoon was spent printing wedding invitations until the couple left for supper at the inlaws. The shore captain barbequed some steaks for us for supper and I ran away for the aforementioned overnighter. Now home for a quick family visit and a nap. Later.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Morning work

Well, we 'started the morning work' which means bathing confused (usually elderly) patients who choose to ring their buzzer at 5 a.m. Memo to self...make sure you're one of hostile residents if you have to go into a care facility. You know, the kind they wouldn't dare rouse at that hour for fear you'd wake the entire place. It seems cruel to do most of the work in the last few fuzzy hours after we've been awake for about 24 hours but such is the rythum of the night shift. After sleeping tonight I will work another one and then have one day off before heading back as we are short staff due to a family illness. Apparently Easter weekend is going to be affected as well but I was working anyway so not much of change for me.

Time to head out into the early sunrise and into the warm nest. The slowcooker is set with 'cowboy supper' so I'm all set.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yes, spring is really here

A quiet Monday afternoon of a ‘day off’ when I’ve decided that three hours of domestic chores are my limit so I’ll update you with the assistance of a 21 lb cat (yes Gary did lose a pound while we were away) on my lap.

It’s been a beautiful long weekend off for me and I’ve managed to be quite productive. Although spring officially arrived on Saturday afternoon the province set high record temperatures on Friday with numbers that we sometimes don’t see in the summer. This encouraged me to hang five loads of laundry on the clothesline which were a result of working the previous three LDs. The shifts flew by as they do you run. The pinnacle of the experience came at the end of the last shift when two of us ‘mature RNs’ held down a resistive four year old for a maxi mist treatment while his Dad held him in a bear hug and attempted to keep the mask on his face while he screamed loudly for mercy. Finally he yelled “just stop it you two stupid guys” to the embarrassment of his father and our hysteria as we were by then ‘over the top’ and could not refrain from commenting on the Two Stupid Dogs program etc. The treatment was soon completed and the two generations exited with Dad requesting an apology which the son hastily granted as he trotted towards the door.
I took my turn working at the community bingo on Saturday night and was relieved that the games were played out quickly and I was home before 10 p.m. Every six weeks comes around faster than you’d think.

Yesterday we welcomed the purchaser of our former house as he was home for a few weeks from BC dealing with some health issues for his father. Since he’s been ‘away’ for the past 35 years, he was attempting to sort our contractors to build a garage etc. in the next year or so. His plans of selling his west coast home and retiring have been delayed somewhat with the real estate and investment markets.

Had friends over for supper last evening and enjoyed a feed of lobsters, warm herb bread out of the breadmaker and a Greek salad, followed by chocolate cake and blueberry buckle for dessert. A chance to visit and catch up on the news – one couple’s son has snagged a position with the Atlantic School of Theology doing library/computer work and the other were just welcoming their son back from a vacation in Bimini (off Bahamas) with friends. Good times good times. The night was rather short for the shore captain as the phone rang at 0145 from the boat arriving in the a.m. announcing an ETA and catch details.

I was reading an article in the paper over the weekend which chronicled the travels of Nicholas Rapp and his friend Nadia who were driving from New York to Argentina and all the adventures along the way. Here’s the website to follow along.
Aside from the obvious security issues of travel through Ecuador, Columbia and Peru when I read of their swimming in lakes, buying food from local markets and staying with locals and was reminded of all the tropical diseases they could contract - I thought to myself that I must be getting old.

There was a good article by Silver Donald Cameron in Sunday’s paper about an organization called Barefoot College
which was used to ‘educate the grandmothers’ stating that when men are trained they are impatient, competitive and want a certificate so they can move to the city and get another job. And yes, you can donate to such a worthy grassroots organization, hint, hint.

An interesting website called Life as a Human to check out – Very eclectic titles such as Ode to Bacon, King of Meat – how could it not be interesting? Since I’m female the stats tell me that if I make it to age 65 I have a 50% chance of living to 85 and a 25% chance of making it to 92. Those odds seem pretty good to me as someone has to be in that in 25%.

Memo to self to check this evening with daughter # 2 to see if she’s recovered from her western vacation. Sounds like it was an intense but fun schedule and she was back to being a student teacher again this morning – she’ll need a vacation after her vacation. And speaking of vacations (in case I haven’t posted this previously as my memory fails me on this point) for all you travelers, here is a map of wi-fi available in airports globally.

I’m off to read my Jimmy Buffett novel – did you know he wrote novels? Apparently is one of six authors to be on both the fiction and nonfiction list of the New York Times bestsellers lists. Who knew? And yes, I’m not ashamed to say that a Jimmy Buffett concert in Key West is still on my bucket list! Back to work in the morning, but only one LD and two LNs this time – paying down my debt one shift at a time as I dream of ‘semi-retirement’

Thursday, March 18, 2010

And triage means what?

A few stolen moments while I wait for the night shift to come and rescue me from a busy day spent triaging in Emergency. As a patient asked today "and triage means what?" so I explained that it meant they got to tell me their story, I check them out and give them a score and that decides how quickly they get seen. Kind of like dating really but a lot less fun to be checking out folks who cough or sneeze on you. It was a fairly steady day but a good work team on which makes all the difference.

With the time change there is enough daylight left to walk the dog but I'm not sure if there is enough of me to make it so don't tell her that. Oh, here they come, I'm free, I'm free, I'm outta here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Pretty Good Time

A few moments as I wait for the shore captain to arrive for supper – he is loading trawl and ice on the fishing boat and “doing some other stuff” so I anticipate the time change of last weekend which has given him later daylight hours is the reason. This has been a beautiful sunny, although windy day which I have spent in style. What a great day to have off – from paid employment at least. After sleeping in I washed three loads of laundry and wrestled them onto the clothesline and they are well aired out with today’s stiff breeze. A dog walk (which turned into a run as we were chased by a hound dog down the road) in the sunshine. Then a baking ‘spree’ where I whipped up a loaf of oatmeal bread in the bread maker, a sponge (or hot milk cake if that’s how you know it) with green icing (lime flavored) for the St. Patrick’s Day patient party at work, a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a roaster of apple pan dowdy. That should hold things down for the next three 12 hour day shifts in a row, but I digress. The sunshine was so warm through the windows I had to leave the door to the veranda open when I was baking, much to the delight of the felines who smiled in the rays and moved from one piece of furniture to another.

Had a call at noon from the two oldest daughters who were enjoying their week together in style. Actually the call was to settle a local trivia question (which required research in the phone book – they had tried their Dad’s cell but he didn’t answer) as they headed down to Drumheller from Red Deer. It was apparently warm, sunny and scenic and they were both in high spirits. Stories of bison viewing at local parks, shopping at West Edmonton Mall etc. were shared until the cell phone signal was lost. Nice for them to have time off as they’ve both been working hard. Although the visiting guest had forgotten her camera in the excitement of packing, she had remembered the lobsters and salt fish which were a big hit and apparently packed more than one pair of pants – so less drama with March Break versus Christmas sisters.

Speaking of hard work….Last night when I dragged myself through the door after a particularly hectic (but highly entertaining) 12 hour day in the Emergency Department I found the life partner looking pretty much like I did. “I saved you some of the pot roast leftovers to microwave” he said. Since I had only gulped a bowl of chowder and biscuit (while documenting on forms) which a coworker was dispatched to fetch at noon from the cafeteria, I wasn’t about to argue with that. Then he discovered on the movie channel, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, which we settled in to watch with Tostitos and salsa. Since I am in love with Denzel Washington this wasn’t a hardship and I thoroughly enjoyed the line where he answers his wife wasn’t happy with a decision he made but accepted it, and the reply was “that’s love” but Denzel says “no, that’s marriage, they’re two completely different things”. Hard to argue that point after almost 33 years.

Still recovering from the very flying trip to the city on Friday (after a slight delay for a medical first responder call – more on that later) where we took the above mentioned seafood, some grandmother things and a flashstick of photos for delivery to the western daughter by the student teacher. We had a double date with daughter # 2, her fiancĂ© at It’s All Greek to Me, which is a great Greek restaurant on Quinpool Road. The owner of the Montessori school where this daughter has taught apparently has lunches catered by this establishment as it’s part of her extended Greek family. Lucky kids. The departure delay was due to the shore captain’s doing his CSI thing on a phone call to his diabetic employee and deducing he was likely having a low blood sugar. He attempted to call him back (no answer as the phone was off the hook) so he asked me to contact a neighbour (no luck as she was home alone with the five children she babysits) so stopped on the way home but was stood off at the door by an obviously hypoglycemic occupant. He made a hasty trip home to enlist my aid and get ready for the city. A quick call to the employee’s spouse at the nursing home where she works who advised she’d had to call EHS the previous Friday for the same thing and he’d regained consciousness with a large Mountie sitting on his chest. By the time we reached his house the Manor van was sitting in their yard while the occupants enjoyed their picnic of sandwiches and cookies with the Day Program Coordinator while the employee’s spouse was doing her best (at a distance due to the resistive hypoglycemic behavior) to encourage him to drink his orange juice and eat his tuna sandwich. We stayed long enough to ensure he had enough calories on board to make it safe enough to leave him until their daughter arrived home at 4 p.m. and headed out on courier trip.

Had a chat on the weekend with the baby daughter who is doing well in her studies and pulling off Bs or better while working lots of hours with the homecare agency. She was hoping to add a second job to her schedule for the summer as her classes are over by April 18th. There will be a bit of juggling required for the wedding in June but family get togethers don’t usually come in such pleasant varieties, so a good problem to have.

Tomorrow morning I’m picking up a co-worker jus t up the road and it is very nice to have a local traveling companion for the commute and workday. Good chance to get caught up on all the news and assures that there will be at least one friendly face looking back at me in the a.m. Have sent the prodigal son in this evening to sample the new triage system as he advised me this morning that he had ‘something’ in his left eye, which on further questioning he admitted was likely metal in. I encouraged him to go to Emerg but to no avail, he thought it was better after eye drops. Tonight he arrived home with a very reddened eye and the suggestion it might be a sty – NOT – so now he has (hopefully) headed in to seek medical assistance.

Well, time to close with the quote of the day:

If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time. - Edith Wharton

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Take that Bell Canada

A quick update as I find a few moments at work because….I am having connectivity issues in a big way – mostly financial! The ongoing technical continue, but the main problem is that I finally found out what the turbo stick is costing and it ain’t pretty. Apparently it has been $102 for January and $101 for February bills. Not that I received any bills since December due to a screw up in the e-billing. I yelled so badly at customer service about the fact that my $70 bill for this month because I have spent so many hours on the phone with tech support following their instructions and used up all my space that my account was credited. But in order to cancel my contract I have to give 30 days notice (meaning I’m free on April 9th) and pay a penalty for each remaining month which totals $160 + taxes. The customer support dude suggested that someone else might take over my contract and I laughed out loud saying that if they knew the story behind my situation they sure wouldn’t want to. So, the final decision was to cut my losses and run for it by paying the $145 I talked the customer service rep down to and pulling the plug. So my plan is to wait out the high speed connection because I don’t even have a computer in the house which will connect to dialup except for a castoff left by the baby daughter which is definitely not worth the $40 per month for that! So the postings will be sporadic perhaps as I live with work/library/wireless when in town.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not a bad way to spend a day off

The past few days have been beautiful – sunny and warmer than the usual temperatures with just a slight breeze, requiring the garden door be left open to keep the interior environment manageable. In fact today (no matter what the date on the calendar says) I celebrated spring by hanging blankets on the clothesline. Ahh, the one type of housework I enjoy doing – the rest waits for the cleaning lady on Thursday and she has her work cut out for her as she hasn’t been here for almost a month between both of our vacations.

I started today off with some photos of the beautiful orchid my summer neighbour gave me last year as you can see here. I also snapped a picture of Klyde so you can see that his hair IS growing back and yes I am keeping to my promise of brushing him regularly so he doesn’t have to go through this again. Then I read the newspaper before heading in to town for a massage (tough day off so far eh?) I continued on to a great Frenchy’s shop where I made like Cinderella and found some wonderful shoes, an overnight bag, a GAP and Old Navy t-shirt for me and one for the shore captain which said “CSI Investigations” as he is a huge fan as well as a dickie for under his oil clothes in the winter, two sets of sheets for one of the daughters, pantyhose, and for Cuba a backpack, shopping bag and the find of the day – a bicycle saddlebag! On to the drugstore sales bin – cleaned up - and then groceries. Home in time to walk the dog before supper. Well actually, home in time to fight (again) with the Superior Propane call center and FINALLY get the charge completely removed from the bill for the tank exchange/refill of last fall and then walk the dog before making fish cakes (yum) for three.

The shore captain has a number of items on his to-do list for tomorrow which includes picking up goodies his mother is sending to the western daughter, a thumb drive to send her the Cuba photos and arranging for the salt fish and lobsters which are all being couriered by her sister. A quick trip to the city on Friday to drop all this off to daughter # 2 aka the mule.

Had a nice surprise to hear from a former work colleague telling me that the gang will be in Lunenburg next month and I actually will be free for an overnight visit. Yeehaw! Back to work in the morning again, the first of two more dreaded day shifts, but what can you do when you're not retired eh?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Is it spring yet?

A beautiful sunny Saturday, with the only problem being the sun is shining on……snow still! Headed back from days off to work on Thursday and the storm followed me. Nasty drive home on Thursday evening and only a slightly better one in yesterday morning, at least on this secondary road. It’s March for goodness sake, enough of the white stuff already, although I have heard rumblings of more predicated for Tuesday, sigh. And although it isn’t the time of year that we expect two feet of snow this smile on the left from a summer neighbor hits a bit close to home. The mailbox installation survived the wet snow and snow plows and was (as the life partner predicted) pushed to the side with the onslaught but had withstood the barrage due to the metal shield. I was most impressed. He should apply for a patent. At least the sun today (certainly NOT at Caribbean strength) is warm enough to contribute to some major solar gain in this R2000 hacienda so the garden door is open and the cats have been in and out numerous times. Stanley (who isn’t known for his bravery) even yelled to go out on the run and experienced the snow for a while. My personal measurement of spring is when I can walk the dog without hat and gloves – not there yet.

I continue to (unfortunately) have an ongoing association with the technical support staff at Bell regarding the turbo stick. It was (slightly) reassuring to hear that it was not the desktop or netbook computer or anything I was doing to them (as had been suggested by previous techs) which was causing the problem. Apparently there is difficulty in the Bell software or system and the engineers are (according to their jargon) working on recreating the problem as it has been escalated, the ticket is still open and a callback will advise when it’s resolved. As I told Mohamed Abeed “that does not solve my problem of unreliable connectively” and he did agree with that. We discussed how I would contact customer support if this situation wasn’t resolved within two weeks as I don’t plan to be locked into a yearlong contract with this situation. I mean 35 min. to send one email after six attempts – ridiculous!

I was pretty impressed to get news from the western daughter that she was in the top 5 for sales in central Alberta within her bank. Considering the rocky economic climate that is not too shabby. The second daughter is enjoying her second practice teaching assignment which apparently is a great school without much staff turnover – good environment but not likely much in the way of a position. Hopefully the dues won’t have to be paid by substituting in the fall but it’s early days yet as classroom assignments aren’t finalized until May and then the repositioning begins.

Almost time to think of getting ready for work, but at least it’s a night shift where there is less management and their resultant requests. I am considering my night shifts precious this spring as we are booked to do 20 shifts within a six week period and I have 12 LDs and 8 LNs without any structure of the four on, four off rotation. Nice to be so versatile I get to work with everyone and everywhere eh?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vacation recap

Well, we’re back and of course as usual it seems as if the vacation recedes into history very quickly. Just have the 580+ photos to prod our memories and I’ll post a coupe in the summary below. We actually made it back to the area on Friday but…I traveled directly from the airport to work a night shift due to travel delays. We started out Thursday evening flying out of Santiago de Cuba to Toronto and due to a snowstorm in Ontario were delayed an hour before we got underway. The flight was sleepless for me as I was on the aisle with a couple who apparently hadn’t taken their Ritalin as every 45 minutes they were up and down the aisles, chatted loud enough that the earplugs didn’t muffle them and once dropped a large beach bag of beverages on me from the overhead bin. We got in to Pearson at 3 a.m. and finally to bed at the Airport Sheraton by 4. Up at 8 a.m. to catch the connection to Nova Scotia which was (as well) delayed due to deicing requirements and so into Halifax by 3 p.m. with major turbulence along the way so no shuteye and a very challenging landing in storm force winds. Not a surprise that we were one of very few flights arriving from Toronto that day. A short visit with a Cuban ex-pat followed by a cup of tea with daughter # 2 before we headed out into the sheets of rain and very strong winds for the drive home. The life partner dropped me off at work where I made like Superman and changed into the RN of the hour. I amazed myself by staying conscious for the entire 12 hours and not causing too much trouble on my 4 hrs of sleep in the past 48 hrs. When the shore captain met me on the highway and deposited me home I can hardly remember stumbling into bed in the morning – first thing I knew it was 4:35 p.m. with the alarm sounding.

Enjoyed a great supper which had been graciously left by a friend and then remembered the Christmas gifts from the western daughter which had been delivered at the tea stop. Pretty exciting to find a very large bag of Lady Hannah tea as well as a beautiful notebook with my initial on it – just like the holidays all over again. The second night shift started off with some excitement as I desperately attempted to retrieve the electronic triage information from my ‘still on vacation’ brain. The usual Saturday night ‘related to alcoholic beverages ‘ situations settled after 2 a.m. and I managed to survive in much better style. It goes without saying that my four days off were very welcomed.

When I came home from work on Sunday morning I spent an hour and a half on the phone with Bell tech support (couldn’t place the very strong accent due to a major speech impediment) because the turbo stick wouldn’t stay connected. I should not complain about this tech though as I later spent two and a half hours with two separate (more understandable but condescending geeks) who were not able to resolve the identical problem on my laptop although one did admit the changes were in the Bell system arggh. The late bedtime and rainy weather meant I slept the day which was likely for the best due to the power failure that evening. Finally crawled into bed at 2 a.m. after relaying phone calls to Nova Scotia Power for a frantic shore captain who had lost ‘a phase of his power’ at the lobster tank house and was dealing with aerators et al until the wee hours. Woke up in the morning sans power ourselves as apparently trees on the lines here put it out at 3 a.m. and we were 12 hours without so grateful for the propane range and generator. The propane fireplace (our auxiliary heat source for prolonged outages) however would not operate no matter how the shore captain jiggled the wires. The next day he ‘remembered’ that there was a battery in the thermostat (who knew that thermostats had batteries? Certainly not moi) and retrieved one about the size of a hearing aide battery.

So….on Tuesday I began the quest for the battery – not an easy task in the small local town as the hardware store would have one in on Friday, the smaller drugstore didn’t carry that size, the building supply center didn’t carry them at all but the larger drugstore rewarded me with the $2.75 necessity. After a great Frenchy’s shop and $335 in groceries (the highlight being I purchased a pizza stone – have wanted one of those for some time) I headed home to straighten the casa out thinking I was going to scrapbooking in the evening. Not the case as the community room was overbooked so an in-house session with a friend substituted instead.

Did some baking, unpacked and laundered + +, forwarded goodies from Cuba and for some reason a reorganization bug bit and I cleared out the bookcase and several drawers – not really sure what came over me with the domestic duties. On a more social note I did manage to transfer the trip photos to the computer and we had a little vacay replay to cheer ourselves up.

The trip (of course) was a great time. We visited with our friends, enjoyed the sun and food and generally enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. The weather was a bit cooler and wetter than we’ve ever experienced in the 13 years we’ve been traveling to Cuba but it sure wasn’t snow! It was difficult to believe that we had two weeks there as it simply flew by. Not sure if that was because we hadn’t visited for two years or we’re just getting older and time is moving faster. I’m thinking I’ll do a scrapbook on the ‘real’ Cuba – the one not of resort publicity shots but a bit grittier. I did some extra shots this year thinking of a photo journal. Enjoy.