On Monday the birthday boy was surprised by.....the oldest daughter who had hopped a flight east from Alberta to help with the celebration. I was just as amazed when she pulled up in the rental car that afternoon after I had rubbed the day sleep from my eyes. We had a BBQ for supper finished off with an ice cream cake - doesn't get much better than that for an old guy!
On Tuesday as I was running last minute errands before heading out to the city to do my two 12 hr shifts for clinical.....the battery light came on in the car. I turned around and headed to the garage where the mechanic pronounced that my alternator was ailing and that "you need a new car you know". He has been babying it along and warning me that I should start looking for a replacement as this one will require "some work like brakes, body work and more to pass safety inspection next month" so this was not a good development. Instead of arranging for a rental - which was my first instinct - I called the shore captain who suggested that I drive the car home and take his truck to the city and he would get the car in to the shop for repairs when the alternator arrived from Montreal in two days. I headed out again for home and the battery light came on before I made it through town.
|Dans Ice Cream Shop yumm!|
I made my way through the Dartmouth General to the ICU and followed a staff member who kept looking at me like she knew me. When I was introduced after report she said "I used to work with you in 1988" and so we caught up on all the news. My preceptor was very kind and helpful which really made me feel at home. She has been working in intensive care units since she graduated from nursing school in Beijing in 1985 so was very knowledgeable. I struggled with her accent a bit as she told me that our patient was on the wentilator though. The staffing ratio and pace were very much to my liking with all breaks taken and a lot of autonomy. In the afternoon I was surprised to find my instructor come for a visit (she lives about 10 minutes away though so I shouldn't have been) and we discussed the course, exam etc. Apparently there were several questions which "didn't perform well" meaning in my opinion that they were poorly written which brought my total grade up to 80%. The suggestion was that I "might like that number better" but my only thought to that was 'it's only a number that you've decided on and it only means something to you' however I simply thanked her for the reassessment of grades.
After I made my way back from the hospital by retracing my morning route the daughter and I checked out the yard and garden -nice hostas and shrubs- and all that the previous owners had left from hoses to chiminea to a ladder. After supper I was treated to a photo tour of the west coast honeymoon of the daughter and son-in-law which was almost a year ago now. Hard to believe they're heading for their first anniversary in a few weeks. Somehow the travel alarm didn't go off and I overslept until 6:15 a.m. but still made it for report at 6:30 so I haven't lost my touch!
I felt much more comfortable in the ICU the second shift and my only 'situation' was when I attempted to print articles from the course (which the instructor had forwarded to allow us to work ahead as the strike is looming) which managed to crash the printer in the ICU and necessitated the ward clerk spend a long time on the phone with IT and then a dude in ball cap and brand name shirt arrived to reset it. I told them all that it was a sign of the negative karma associated with that course. I went directly home after the shift and it was very close to 3 hrs drive in total. Mental note to self to negotiate a reduction of the five (count em five) 12 hour shifts for next semester which I may get prior learning credit for as I work in Emerg - you bet I'll be looking for that! Mind you that included a stop at the farm market for rhubarb, apple/maple butter, tomatoes and a grizzly tracks frozen yogurt for the road. I found some time to catch up on the newspaper, email and sleep in that order.
Had a call from the daughter who had made her way out west despite delayed flights and a rush through Pearson airport to connect then circling for almost an hour in Calgary etc. Glad to hear she'd arrived safely and was headed in to her instrumentation course today. This runs for the next nine weeks as she's completed both levels of the electrical course and written her second provincial exam. Will be on the hunt for gainful employment come August.
Today I received a call from the mechanic telling me amongst other information that they had had to tow the car from Blanche where it had quit on Wednesday (a little detail the shore captain had neglected to share) and would likely have to replace the battery and that although they'd replaced the alternator it 'wasn't putting out like it was supposed to' and he was concerned that the problem 'might be the computer or the alternator was a bad part'. As you might guess the computer would cost $800 + labour to replace so not a decision I wanted to make on an ailing 2004 Sebring. However, when I called the salesman at the garage I felt as if I was betraying an old friend (as the car owes me nothing) when I asked him to look for a small, standard transmission vehicle. I didn't care about the make, model or color and since I am going to be 55 in a few months didn't want a really expensive one so it didn't have to be new but just as faithful as this one I was replacing. I did however, insist that this ride was going to be in my name as I explained to him that I had paid for a number of cars and vans over the years and they were all registered in the man of the house name but NOT this one. I assured him that women over 50 had a different 'take no prisoners' attitude and he quickly agreed telling me that his wife had turned 50 this year and he knew exactly what I meant.
|Picture of determination|
So tomorrow I'm back to my real job and hopefully able to carpool with someone as my wheels won't be available until Monday on my way to work. It turns out that the problem was a wire which had shorted out causing my alternator to melt and not the computer and the battery didn't need to be changed but a replacement is still being sought as this reprieve is likely short lived. The carefree days of no car payments are likely numbered.