Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do you know how much Miami Heat tickets cost?

Although I should be studying for my exam - and the urgency of this need is intensified by the fact that my exam is only 7 days away and I have to work 3 of those days - I am catching up on the coverage of the hurricane that wasn't. Irene gave us a miss (thankfully) in our area although she caused lots of problems to the south and west of us. And in fact the baby daughter who had traveled to Las Vegas for quick getaway before heading back to school experienced it first hand. Apparently they were unable to return home as planned and were rerouted a couple of times and finally made it to Ohio. After being told it would be three or four days until they could fly out (there were 8500+ flights cancelled out of NY alone) they were driving and were outside of Boston this afternoon. That should make for some interesting travel stories.

As the travel planning continues and we look forward to heading to Florida, I mentioned to the travel partner that we might have some days before or after the cruise to take in a sporting event. He (who is a sports nut to put it kindly) quickly agreed. When I (in an attempt to prove that I knew something about sports) mentioned about Miami Heat basketball tickets and we could travel down on the tri-rail etc. he supported the idea of me looking for tickets. Do you know how much Miami Heat tickets cost? They were $700 + tickets and he says "oh they must be up in the nosebleed section, they're really expensive" He was sure correct as there were floor tickets for $7000 or more. I was flabbergasted! As the sports nuts said "that's why you see Jack Nicholson and people like that sitting in those seats". That quickly lead to research on a different set of tickets. He mentioned the Pathers (apparently they are a NHL team) and not only are they in Ft. Lauderdale the tickets are $48 - $80, so much more in tune with our budget. They are hosting the Bruins the evening before we cruise so it should be a good game.

Had a nice chat with two of the daughters today. The electrician daughter called to say she has a job interview on Wednesday morning so it sounds like the projects are moving again out west. We had chatted on my previous days off and she was telling me that she'd passed her provincial instrumentation exam - no surprise there - with a mark that I would be thrilled to claim on September 7th in my own. The teacher daughter was in the final stages of preparing for her grade 3/4 French Immersion classroom which - as she pointed out to me - is her first very own classroom as she has just previously 'borrowed' a classroom and students for a period of time. She is looking for floor cushions for her classroom reading area so (following in her mother's footsteps has made a trek to Frenchy's) but should anyone know of any such things, they will find a good home.

The prodigal son has found his way home after disappearing for a few days. Apparently had gone fishing with someone about 45 min. away for cash and neglected to tell anyone about it. The first night he didn't make it home I thought 'he's at a friends place' and then the second day his father said "haven't seen him at the plant or around the boat" by the third day we'd decided he had gone fishing. Wouldn't have been nice to know perhaps.

Did give me the chance on my 'days off' to complete 19 (yep you read that correctly 19) posting for my course. I received an email from the instructor today giving me the name of my preceptor for my clinical shifts in Emergency (so I will be dropping in to stay with the teacher daughter again) and you can be assured that I will be negotiating for 3 - 12 hr. shifts instead of the 5 which are listed in my letter! Fitting even three shifts into a full time schedule within five weeks is no small feat. At least these shifts will be a bit more applicable to my (present) workplace. After I have survived the exam and the clinical it will be a treat to be putting these toes in the warm sands of a vacation. The travel quote of the day supports this kind of thinking.

"Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe." ~Anatole France

And of course these links as well - the first re: wanderlust:


And if you're going to travel you might as well take good photos of those travels:


I shall dream of such things while I sleep the day away. Enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Not enough nurses

It seems that the critical shortage of nurses extends to many areas. I was chatting online with my buddy working in the north and asking what his plans were for employment? He's working on a contract now and thinking of traveling to Cambodia possibly with a friend in the fall. He told me one of the 'older' nurses was asking him to "come down and work in Emerg" and I suggested that might not be so bad. He replied that if he'd been willing to leave the Legion on wing night last Wednesday they would have promised him the world as one of the RNs had worked a 17 hour shift because her replacement had called in drunk. I told him to "stop talking like that - you know that I dream of that".

On Monday night as I was just starting in to my days off the phone rang at 9 p.m. and it was a co-worker who pitifully said "I need help!" and I was thinking it was a consult for infection control (from my former life) but no she says "can you come work as a CCA (Continuing Care Assistant - or the entry level nursing assistant) tonight?" I chuckled into the phone and she said "don't laugh! I'm serious" So of course I agreed as RN pay and time and a half at that wasn't going to be a problem. "I can be there in 45 minutes" I said and made my preparations. The shore captain didn't have a problem when I said "do you mind if I go to work tonight?" because he said I had kicked and and jumped all night the night before. He was right - I had been having a horrible nightmare about working in a sauerkraut factory and I HATE sauerkraut so I was really suffering. The laugh was on me though as the RN on shift was ill almost as soon as I arrived and we ended up putting her to bed with a shot of gravol, threatening her with IV fluids and she ended up having bloodwork done before the physician on call would allow her to leave in the a.m. So I got to be the RN and CCA while working short - you'd think I'd learn not to gloat. I felt so sorry for the fallen comrade as I had been struck with the same bug and been cared for by a co-worker myself on the Friday of my night shifts.

I had been dreaming of a winter vacation and especially so this year to celebrate the surviving of my Emergency Nursing Course and checking out some cruises but....the cheapest I could find was about $1000 each. I had been asking some of the girls at work in case they should be interested to make it a 'girls getaway' and one of them said "can't I have to pay for my divorce" and when I expressed my sympathy she said "oh no, don't worry we get along much better now that we're not married". So without any takers in the female department I made myself have a look at the cruise speaker situation again so the life partner and I could swing it. And long story short I negotiated a gig doing creative writing, blogging and other such fun stuff on the Emerald Princess as below - my apologies for the misalignment it is 5 a.m.

Emerald Princess us and 3000+ passengers

10 days Southern Caribbean Medley Roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale

Port                                                     Arrival                       Departure
1 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida                                                     4:00 PM

2 Princess Cays, Bahamas                  9:00 AM                   4:00 PM

3 At Sea

4 St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  8:00 AM                   5:00 PM

5 Dominica                                           9:00 AM                   6:00 PM

6 Grenada                                            7:00 AM                  2:00 PM

7 Bonaire                                            12:00 PM                  7:00 PM

8 Aruba                                               7:00 AM                   5:00 PM

9 At Sea

10 At Sea

11 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida               7:00 AM

Not a bad itinerary if I do say so myself - snorkeling, sun, ah

So now I'm looking forward to the vacation and the topic. I spent yesterday morning going through some of my materials, had the shore captain fax the agreement and release form and so am really anticipating this kind of 'teaching'. I must polish up this blog if I'm to use it for an example.
And as for why I'm typing this at 5 a.m. well the short answer is that I answered my phone at suppertime and was offered the chance of doing 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. this morning instead of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and for the same pay as the time and a half makes it equal. What is not to like? The only wrinkle is that the cleaning lady will be attempting to put the house in order when I get home - not that I mind or will hear her but I may get under her feet and distract her and that should NOT be happening.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Marine emergencies and more

I am always surprised when I check the date of the last posting and find it is weeks old - in this case over three weeks. I have made several attempts to update as I worked my way through my night shifts but am suffering from unfinished task syndrome.

The social life has been active beginning with a housewarming for the teacher daughter and son-in-law. A BBQ at their new suburban home with family and friends was a good time. We used a Groupon and picked up some appetizers, Greek salad and dessert at The Athens restaurant before heading over and the shore captain barbequed the lamb a summer neighbour had so generously gifted us with and we made a pitcher of sangria - both of which my Spanish sister-in-law pronounced delicious! My great nephew (who at that time hadn't even had his first birthday) was running everywhere, had to be watched closely on the stairs and was very taken with both the cat Hank (he squatted down and peered at him in wonderment as their only pet is a large chocolate lab who answers to the name Howie) and the cat toy which he batted for some time. We were home past the shore captain's bedtime but it was worth it. Nice to have the Sunday to relax before heading back to work.

Worked my two LDs and LNs and they were all eventful and frantic - what else is new? On Friday morning I did some laundry and got it out on the line and caught a few z z z z s before arising at noon. Time to pack a few things, walk the dog, straighten out the house and head off in the direction of Moncton. I snoozed off and on and we stopped to pick up a friend of the son-in-law who was going to Sackville for Sappyfest, and no it isn't maple syrup but a music festival. We arrived at Universite de Moncton and checked into residence, found a Shoppers Drugstore to buy $10 bracelets to get on the shuttle bus to Magnetic Hill, picked up some supplies such as granola bars and Gatorade and headed out to find the Moncton Coliseum where the shuttle buses left from. With our route mapped out we found Montanas and had a late supper. Unconscious before hitting the mattress is the only description.

Awoke the next morning to pouring rain and wind, how discouraging. Off to Canadian Tire to pick up a stadium seat to use as a back rest (no chairs, umbrellas or tents allowed on the concert grounds) and purchased some extra garbage bags just for good measure. Brunch at Wendy's was a Cobb salad and BLT wrap for moi and the shore captain enjoyed a baconator while winning a free cheeseburger (but of course we lost the tab in the monsoon). Rain gear on, check, extra garbage bags, check, snacks, check and off to catch the shuttle. A quick run to Magnetic Hill and a soggy walk up to the gate for an over two hour wait. A no nonsense trot down to the front of the stage in the drizzle to wait on the metal platform. The 360 stage had a walkway across the front and we were three people back from the fence. The precipitation finally slowed when the first act - Carney - came on stage. They are a part of the orchestra in the Spiderman musical which Bono and The Edge have written. A slight delay and then Arcade Fire who were fantastic!
Carney via the jumbotron
Arcade Fire
Yes Bono was singing only to me
U2s social conscience
Two hour + wait for a bus!
Then it was U2. And what electricity with the 75,000 of us enjoying the show. There were lots of photo ops and Bono is a fine looking man for his age but...the logistics of the Magnetic Hill site are such that there is no band that will tempt me to ever go back there. After trudging carefully in the mud down the hill we shuffled along the side of the road as we waited to be loaded onto buses - in the mist, with all the tired faces and rounded shoulders it reminded me of the trains on their way to Auschwitz.
Felt like Woodstock!
We finally made it to a transit bus at 3 a.m., too tired to eat we headed back to rez and collapsed into bed at 25 to 4. Certainly glad I saw U2 but not to be repeated. Up the next morning to grab a breakfast sandwich and on the road. When it takes three days to see a concert, you've got to be really committed to the event!

Made a stop at the daughter and son-in-laws place to do a house inspection as they had noticed a dark spot under the siding on the garage. A sharp screwdriver inserted by the house inspector aka shore captain yielded a line of angry ants. Instructions on which kind of ant terminator to purchase and need to reside in the spring eased some of the angst as well as measuring for a new door, checking out the chimney flashing on the roof and a closer assessment of the deck didn't produce any major crises so we headed out for home. Glad to find a message asking me if I wanted to have Tuesday off as well due to extra staff. Yes please!!!

Monday (no surprise) was sacrificed to doing laundry, scrubbing footwear and unloading the car. When I was awakened Tuesday morning by a coworker asking me to come in to work as someone had phoned in sick I didn't in the end have extra time off. I did however get time and a half for the shift worked instead of using holiday time. Penny wise and pound foolish to try to cancel nurses when the patient census is down - you would think this quote might sink in to administration but no...So I made my way to the appointment to have my interspinous ligaments injected - the rhuematologist is very pleased with how quickly it is coming along considering that T3 to T9 were unstable - and learn the correct term is prolotherapy which is used frequently for athletes and apparently aging nurses as well. The night shifts were actually not too bad.

Saturday was a short nap and then a Greek evening with our summer neighbours and a local couple who may as well be for as often as we've seen them lately. We had seafood kabobs on the grill then BBQ lamb, grilled veggies, Greek salad and potatoes, pita bread, and a large pitcher of sangria with fruit salad for dessert. My buddy and I tried out a margarita recipe so as not to waste the tequila brought back from Mexico last spring as well. So needless to say I slept well when the crowd dispersed. And Sunday was a day to put the house back in order after being the hostess with the mostest, get the boy Captain underway fishing.  When I called as he was heading to get his 'grub order' and told him the brown bread I'd made him wasn't sliced he said "oh never mind we have a rope knife aboard the boat anyway" so I wished him luck and told him I'd see him on Wednesday.

After shopping for the next social event - a family BBQ in honor of my sister's 51st birthday - Monday is when everything broke loose! The 2nd daughter and her teacher friend came down from the city for a first aid re-certification and we included a local lad who is heading off to do carpentry in the fall.

Just before the ladies arrived for an overnight visit the shore captain came through the door with the news of the day. It seems the leased boat the boy captain had been taking and was fishing in the gully (between Georges and Browns Banks) had been located by it's EPIRB (emergency locator beacon) a Hercules aircraft was scrambled from Greenwood but wasn't able to locate them in the fog and the Capt and crewmember had eventually abandoned ship and been picked up by a vessel in the area and transferred to the Coast Guard cutter when it arrived and were on their way in. A later call to the Air Search and Rescue confirmed they were fine, but the boat had been floated with over three hours of pump work and they were being towed in to Coast Guard station. A friend of the boy Capt. picked him up in the a.m. as the shore captain was unloading fish. It appears the through hull broke off and water rushed in below the water line filling the engine room, hold and even the cud (living quarters) as they were hauling gear. It had been rough in the a.m. and about noon there was different motion to the boat and the engine struggled and made a banging noise so when he lifted the engine hatch cover the water was almost to the top - no high water alarm had sounded and there was no power as everything shorted out. This meant no VHF to make an emergency call  and even the panic button didn't work (although there is supposed to be battery backup) so the only solution was to reach up on top of the wheelhouse and activate the EPIRB, get out the survival suits and put them on and sit on the stern of the boat which was the only part above water. The nonswimmer crewmember wasn't too impressed with this and it is hard to believe that 85% of the inshore fishing fleet don't swim. So after a few hours a dragger from Pubnico arrived and the lads climbed into the liferaft and paddled their way over, after a close call with a stabilizer almost punching through the top of the raft. After attempting to feed them "um no thanks, not really hungry right now" the boy Capt is quoted as saying, the Coast Guard rescue craft the Clarks Harbour arrived to pick them up as the dragger headed back to Georges Bank to continue fishing. Although Air Search and Rescue insisted they wouldn't do anything with the submerged vessel the Coast Guard Capt. decided they were going to do their best to raise it as he would be responding to all the calls when local fishermen ran it down as it was in a busy fishing area. So with three pumps working and three and a half hours later the vessel bobs to the surface and is readied for towing. The Coast Guard required that someone go back aboard the boat and needless to say the crewmember was NOT getting out of the Coast Guard chair so as the lad says "I'm the Capt and responsible so what do you do?" It was a cold, wet, dark night spent trying to sleep on the table in the cud as there was no power, everything was soaked and there wasn't anything left that was safe to eat. His sister was reassured when she was discussing the marine emergency with her husband who said "you know that he knows what he's doing on the water" and granted he has a bit of experience in these matters. That boy, the reason mothers go gray! Not really sure how this vessel managed to 'pass' steamship inspection in May as there were multiple maintenance issues all summer and it is a tribute to the boy Capt's mechanical skills that something hadn't happened earlier.

So, this week is being spent in readying the lobster boat to go fishing (which had been the boy Capt wish all along) as well as picking all the bait off the trawl which had knocked around in the hold, picking up the rest of the gear which someone had hauled for him and generally working 12 hr days.

Tuesday evening was a BBQ for my sister's birthday as her two daughters were home for a visit with the great nieces and nephew who combined to be the approximate ages of our four - so the life partner and I had a few deja vu moments. Can't beat burgers, smokies, potato and pasta salads and Dan's ice cream cake for dessert. A good time was had by all! The daughter and friend headed back to the city on Wednesday as I headed out for an appointment. Picked up my resoled Birkenstocks at the cobblers and 'memo to self - to ask for an approximate price first the next time' as they were $55!!! Mind you I will get lots more miles on them but...that's half of what I paid for them new. Sigh.

Back to work on Thursday, so not much studying done as you can see by the schedule. It worked out to be a good day after a busy morning. But when I got up Friday I was frantic with pain and very discouraged my back was out again - called the physio clinic and of course couldn't even get a message to the physio till Monday, took all the meds I had left and by the time I had to go to work it was manageable. The Dr. on call checked and said it was my hip this time (I'm falling apart) but that the original problem is much better and this is the way things resolve and go back in line so I cheered up a bit.We didn't have a bad night shift but I was struck by some kind of stomach bug about 11 p.m. and had to crawl up on a stretcher before I passed out. My coworker came to find me with the stretcher up in the air, put it down because she was afraid I would gall off, offered me a pillow and blanket (no please don't touch me) and turned out the light. I came too about 1 a.m. and decided I was going to live so muddled around and got myself upright. It has completely cleared by 3 a.m. and I've been fine since. A couple of co-workers had the same sort of event so it must be something circulating (oh great) in the community.

So, that was life in the fast lane this week. I told my coworkers I had to go to work to get a rest. Errands and some studying tomorrow as there is precipitation predicted so I might get back on track towards that September 7th exam date.

Been looking at some cruise ideas to work as an incentive reward for when I've finished the course and there are some possibilities and even good airfare sales so that must be a sign. In that spirit I'm including some travel links here:



Safe travels.