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:
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:

For lunch which my friend treated me to, we tried Fishcake which was wonderful. Here is their website:
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:
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.



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.