Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 2011

 This evening we'll be toasting goodbye to the year 2011 and in the true spirit of growing older the years do seem to be accelerating! We'll spend New Years Eve as we have for most of the past 37 we've been together - together, this year attending but not hosting a house party. I've only worked for a few and that's been by intent as there is NOTHING sadder than working New Years Eve as you can't celebrate it another time, when it's over, it's over and you've missed it. Christmas can be celebrated at any time you choose - as evidenced by this year's on December 26th.

The two Maritime daughters were home previous to the big day to help with holiday preparations - tree purchased, up and decorated, baking, visiting, wrapping and other last minute errands which are even more important when the woman of the house is working shifts and living with a very busy Grinch involved in the lobster industry.

Speaking of lobstering, this gives me the opportunity to insert a link to a video here which has gone viral online. It's a lobster fisherman who has a bit of time on his hands as they steam over to a next string and that he's not the usual scantily clad, anorexic dancer in a music video makes it's even more hilarious. It's tough, cold, dangerous work and you have to have a bit of fun to keep you going (or so the Boy Captain tells me while he regales at 8 p.m. suppers with yarns of buffalos - the industry name for a clawless lobster pantomimed as a flip phone by the bander who holds it to his ear, laughs and says to the hired man "it's for you", or the hired man doing the quick draw with two 'pistols' on his hips) as he is the oldest of the three on his boat. But as his mother I try NOT to think of their under 25 status:

Lobster Fisherman Is Sexy And He Knows It Viduba - Video Download

The Boy Captain has been having another dental emergency situation at the holidays where a wisdom tooth erupted and cracked (he has a pain tolerance which allows for leaving these things) on the opposite side of his jaw from last year this time. This necessitated a trip to the local dentist, antibiotics and referral for dental surgery as the root was too close to the sinuses. A week later he had severe nerve root pain which caused a trip to the ER (after EVERYTHING we had in the house didn't touch the pain) which his older sister chauffeured and it was reassuring to know that although the hydromorphone he was given beat the pain he was not a fan of the 'good drugs' and managed with the toradol instead. An appointment with a specialist in the city two days ago was the final solution where he had the surgery under a local and was held down by the assistant after instructing "just get it done" and he is recovering well. So well in fact that he went lobstering yesterday and managed with tylenol # 3s and only a slightly swollen face - after a good night's sleep he is himself again and working away in the barn. Good to have such a strong constitution for such things.And of course it did give us a chance to descend on Costco, buy more Kcups for the shore captain's coffee maker Christmas gift and visit the urban sister/daughter, 

The holidays (wisdom teeth aside) were busy as I worked but went well - except for the western daughter who we miss especially at this time of year. We were pleased that she had a friend (and his family) to spend it with though and some time off from her new electrical apprentice position. We shipped out some crustaceans with her gifts and they arrived in good shape for a proper Nova Scotian Christmas. I worked days on Dec 24 and 25 which were manageable as sometimes they can be wild! We called Boxing Day Christmas, put the turkey in to roast and had eggs benedict before opening gifts, a big meal and just barely time to clean up a bit before company arrived while I rushed off for a night shift. I usually do fine on nights but fought the sleep monster after midnight and was sure glad to crawl into bed for the day. A quick to-do list and then off to work again as the last daughter packed up to go back to work. So, you can see that making my way through six days off is bliss. Still enjoying the tree - which is one of the benefits of getting it up late. The very thoughtful gifts we all received means that not one of us in standing in line to return/exchange anything this week.

I attempted to use the computer a few days ago and was blocked from my email etc by 'outdated security certificates' so after a bit of troubleshooting with the computer tech on the phone he suggested that the date on the computer might not be correct. He knows his stuff as it was July 2010 as it turned out. Gremlins. Just a heads up should it happen to yourselves.

And speaking of all things tech some of the newest job descriptions are for green collar workers, nano surgeons and cyber soldiers - I'll leave it to you to figure out which are which. 

So as we look forward to our next vacation and in keeping with the last post to include more travel info here is an article on packing from a professional traveler from the sounds:

Packing—What Stays and What Goes?
I have a love/hate relationship with packing. Filling a suitcase tends to mean I’m headed somewhere fun, but trying to decide what to put in it can cause some serious anxiety.
After 10 months of travel this year (and 10 packing sessions), I’ve come up with the Top 3 things to pack and Top 3 things to leave at home.
What to bring:
•  Sunscreen—you wouldn’t believe how many people forget it
•  Power adapter—to power up that hair dryer, battery charger or computer
•  Rain gear—it’s no fun being hindered by the weather
What to leave:
•  Your fifth book—this is what hotel book swaps are for
•  Your step counter or anything else that will make you conscious of things other than having fun
•  The shirt you’ve never worn—and isn’t new
Rule of thumb: If you were to get to your destination and realize you forgot your [insert object here], how upset would you be? Anything less than mildly devastated and it should be left at home.

And a selection of sites/articles for your armchair traveling pleasure follow:

New Years Resolution for 2012:
To work less and travel more

I'd like to say that I'll do less housework but that would be a hard one to keep as I'm just doing enough to keep ahead of the weekly cleaning lady now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Now where did I put

Hello? Hello? Anyone there?  I wouldn’t be surprised if I were typing into a black hole after the lengthy silence but I am thrilled to be able to report that I have my life (or some semblance of it) back again after my final exam. And yes 83 is a perfectly respectable mark if I do say so myself. Now, just a few clinical shifts and it will all be over except for the certificate. Yeehaw! One of the new graduates at work said “there aren’t you glad you did it?” and I replied “no, at this point I’m just glad it’s over”. It has been a major commitment of time and energy for the past year. Apparently the program is being revamped and will be shortened to 10 months from 12, one exam instead of three, one clinical instead of three and all the irrelevant to rural emergency RNs material – as in mechanical vents, arterial lines etc. will be made electives for the tertiary centers and rural folks will get to choose palliative electives etc. Makes me (yet again) feel like a woman ahead of my time. 
“Having more joy does not necessarily require a life overhaul—you may just need to create more space in your life for moments of joy.”
— Debrena Jackson Gandy

Speaking of free spirited women as I was announcing my mark to a coworker (who unfortunately is a widow) we were discussing her upcoming first cruise and she said “I’ve been checking out the spa, it looks really good” Couldn’t argue with that. She confided that she’d been going to the tanning bed as her former partner hadn’t approved of that. Now, I can’t imagine him forbidding her or in fact her heeding such an admonition but sometimes it is easier just not to argue. So she said “now I’m doing all those things he didn’t agree with” and I countered with “well I’m doing all the things I want to do now and he’s still around” so we both chuckled at that. 

Speaking of freedom and the ‘freedom 55’ way of thinking, a coworker the other night (who actually IS a pension prisoner) was moaning about the fact that she’d likely be participating in the ‘freedom 75’ plan and would be living in the Manor attached to the hospital and the staff would change her depends and send her over to work a 12 hour shift with her walker saying “see you at 7”. In the way of nurses black humor at 3 a.m. we found that hysterically funny. In fact when I think of it - the following logo is pretty apt as well. So much for that "age is just a number" way of thinking eh?Reminds me of my Dad telling my mother-in-law on his birthday when she had dropped our kids off for his birthday celebration, while we were vacationing, that "there's been a mix-up, the numbers are reversed I'm really 18 not 81 you know" and those who knew him would certainly believe that.

I was reminded early this morning though that no matter how much things change, they stay the same when I checked out FaceBook to find another old nurse online at 7 a.m. and when I questioned the reason for this she said “checking out an online tutorial for making bows”. That would be the change; the same would be the fact that we’d both been driven out of bed by our lobstering families. She by her husband and daughter who is going this fall to band lobsters (another change in the demographic of young men heading west to work in the oil patch) and moi by the ringing of the cell phone which the shore captain left home for the second time in four days. 

The shore captain has been officially put ashore this fall and he’s grieving a bit although he’s been much too busy for several years to do it justice. It makes me feel as if I’m working as a UN negotiator when the two generations are under the same roof at the same time. The senior male has letting go issues and thinks the boy doesn’t want him to help - the junior one feels as if his father is telling him what to do (he is) although as I advised him “it isn’t always about you, he’s struggling with the succession planning you know”. With the hours they are keeping and my shift work, sharing a house with them is like caring for feral cats. You leave food out for them and it disappears, sometimes there’s a mess you have to clean up and occasionally you have to go looking for them or coax them to eat. 

My early start got me underway to town for a Frenchy’s shop – and you know you’ve scored well when you spend $62 and the bag is bigger than groceries of the same cost. When I was in line at the checkout for groceries actually the man ahead of me turned and said “do you have an Air Miles card?” and I wasn’t long stuttering yes, producing it and thanking him. He said “Merry Christmas” and was off so I asked the cashier if it was a big order as I was still recovering from the gift and she said “over $180” so I was very pleased, as well as shocked that someone WOULDN'T have an Air Miles card????

Sunset in paradise
So while waiting for the men folk to come home this evening I enjoyed the beautiful sunset of the unseasonably warm day and a cup of Lady Hannah tea which always make me think of the western daughter as that is where I’ve purchased the tea. Although according to my online search it is widely available. The electrician daughter is beginning her apprenticeship this week. Memo to self to call and see how that is going. She’s  been working in the oil patch but if you’ve studied, you really want to work in your field. She even had an invite to the Christmas party before starting with the new company – a company box to watch the Edmonton Oilers – woohoo! Much better than what nurses get for sure - carols in the front lobby just don't come close. 

Speaking of Christmas music, the teacher daughter has been making her way through Christmas concerts with her grade 3/4 class and it has been fraught with all kinds of drama. Projectile barfing on the way to the stage, yowls from struck elbows, and tears of fear of disappointing a parent. Oh the trials of an elementary school teacher. 

The nursing student wrote her final midterm in Microbiology today and pronounced it “tough” but had marks to ensure a pass before writing. She pulled off an A- in Community Nursing and scored a reference from her clinical instructor so all is good in the academic world. Her crisis du jour was a breadmaker question – that I can handle. 

So, now it's back to work in the morning but at least my 'days off' from here will be filled with holiday preparations versus studying trauma algorithms. I may just go wild and crazy and read a novel if I feel like it. And of course getting in to the cruise planning swing of things. Woohoo!  Or perhaps I'll just simplify my life as per this Huffington Post article Actually, life is pretty good when the only complaint you can make is that you didn't get Air Miles on your L.L. Bean order eh? More travel info in a next post.