Friday, March 16, 2012

Groupon tour and more

So, a pretty busy couple of weeks as I get used to having some time for all the tasks on my ‘to do’ list. Why is it that the list doesn’t seem to get any smaller?

Last week as I came in from a day shift on a cold evening I found the life partner making his way out of the sauna. It does take a while to heat up so this was the perfect opportunity to decompress and I asked him to leave it on. “I hope you have better luck than I do getting it heated up” he said. Apparently the first time he checked it after 20 minutes the temperature was only 116 degrees, then he noticed the door was open and thinking he’d caught his jeans hanging on the doorknob in it he reset the thermostat and closed the door. When he came back in another 20 minutes the sauna was now 140 degrees (which is the way he likes it) but he noticed the curtain was lifted up on the bench and there was a grey and white face looking back at him. He realized he must’ve shut the cat in the second time and when he opened the door all 20 lbs of Gary flew out through none the worse for the wear.

Supper at Kababji
After a short nap on Monday after the final night shift (2 days, 3 nights) the life partner and I headed to the city where we had supper at Kababji, a Lebanese restaurant which was delicious. There was however, no belly dancing that evening. A stop for DVDs (to copy the family videos) at Staples resulted in the shore captain rewarding himself with a laptop. We crashed at the teacher daughter’s as it is March Break and actually slept in. The son-in-law was the only one who had to go to work and he wasn’t impressed as the transit strike wasn’t settled yet and so it was kind of hurry up and wait for the workflow there.

After breakfast we headed out on what the life partner referred to as ‘the Groupon tour’ as I had a collection of discount coupons – Groupon, Deal Find, Wag Jag, and Team Buy. The first one I redeemed to pick up the remaining tapes to DVDs which Memories in a Flash had so professionally transferred. In conversation with Rosa she mentioned she was from Nicaragua and I asked if she knew a young fellow and his mother from her country now living in the city, as daughter # 1 had dated this lad and….Rosa knew them well. There’s that six degrees of separation again. If you should have vintage tapes in a box somewhere this is the company you need:
Then we made our way in to Spring Garden Road and Duly Noted which is a neat little store which sells an eclectic collection of stationery and writing supplies. I had bought a waterproof notebook and space pen here for the electrician daughter for Christmas and although this store isn’t the type you’d expect my traditional husband to enjoy my Groupon was put to good use buying waterproof notebooks for the boat and fork lift, a sharpie to mark on shipping labels and pour moi a pen which promises to last seven years if you write a meter and a half per day. What incentive eh?

We stopped at Turkish Delight for lunch (which I’ve mentioned previously) and I enjoyed a kebap and ordered a yogurt drink called ayran. It was not sweet and slightly salty so must be an acquired taste. How could it not taste good in such a great mug? It went well with the very large lunch – not even room for dessert! Just a small family run restaurant but very cozy.

Since parking downtown is such a hassle we waddled off to World of Teas to redeem the final coupon and found a great little tea café with a great selection of teas for purchase as well as some tables where you can sample tea and sweets. I picked up some Earl Grey Crème which has lovely little blue flowers and tastes as if there is milk already added but it is clear amber when brewed – yum. I also indulged in Japanese Cherry which has beautiful pink flowers and Apricot Escape which smells like fresh apricots although both aren’t very strong when brewed as well as Pacific Coast Mint which I have yet to try.
Making our way back across the bridge we headed to Mic Mac Mall hoping to secure some water shoes but they were not to be had. A stop at The Body Shop was the icing on the day and I stocked up on shampoo etc. The daughter noticed the chocolate shower gel and lotion so I have those packed in my suitcase as I type – hope they don’t make the mosquitoes hungry.
We stopped in a rural WalMart and were pleased to find three different styles of beach shoes for either men or women for $8 so a real score. I was so pleased with my success I pressed my luck and shopped for bras while the life partner patiently waited. Homeward bound.
I had an email from the teacher daughter the next day telling us that she’d enjoyed running errands with us and that when she told our son-in-law about the Groupon tour he said "You guys ate at 4 different restaurants ?!" haha. I think maybe he was a little jealous that we may have tried 4 different restaurants without him as that is his version of the discount coupons which he enjoys.

Today was a training session for something called BUMP (Bed Utilization Management Program) which will be used in hospitals across the province. I drove though a winter wonderland to get there and then had my brain twisted for the morning. It is designed to account for every day that a patient is in hospital, identify the gaps and work towards earlier discharge. We shall see.

I am doing two extra shifts for a colleague who discovered she had extra vacation hours and so the final run up to our vacation (yes another one) will be full 24 hour days as we leave on Monday. We packed (for the most part – I have some medical supplies to add as I have a contact there) this evening and it was rather painless. I’ve discovered that it helps to allow the travel partner to wear his wireless headphones tuned to MTV and he dances while he selects his shirts. Sorry for the visual image there. The electronics are ready – how did we vacation without them? Ebook readers charged, ebooks downloaded (thanks to a friend – we pay in coffee) camera and laptop batteries charged, flashstick packed. A parcel at the post office – I wonder if that’s the iPod shuffle I won on eBay?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cats one, decoys zero

As you can see by the photo I'm including on the left, the cats have been doing altitude training. I'm pretty sure it's the 20 lb. Gary who has made his way to the top of the kitchen cabinets and tipped over one of the decoys. In the past one has been found behind the fridge. How he manages this with a standing leap I'm not sure.

So...the new computer installation / upgrade was relatively painless (as evidenced by the fact I'm typing this on the new system) except for the need to install a new audio card - this was discovered while I was in the midst of the online first aid recertification of course requiring a restart of the computer translated to starting over from the beginning. But the printer, scanner, speaker and all peripherals work fine and the tech even managed to salvage a few files from the toasted tower so all is well. Nice to have more speed also.

The three 12 hr night shifts went just fine and I know I could handle that rotation on a regular basis - if only. The reason for the one day shift followed by the three nights was a shift change on Wednesday as requested by the boss lady. Not a problem except that I received a phone call when trying to sleep in for nights from the boy Captain at 0645 when he was actually looking for his father to complain that (yet again) the new engine in the boat had boiled over. Because of the timing I was concerned that perhaps I was being switched back to days and answered the unknown name/unknown number call. I cautioned him to "be calm when you speak to your father because he's as frustrated as you are with this" and fell back to sleep. This gig as a UN negotiator is tough work. By 0830 I heard water running in the main bathroom and remembered it was the day the cleaning lady came - you know when I'm out of the house working - not. In the course of her visit we discovered that the NEW vacuum beater bars for the carpet setting didn't work. Now if you think it's frustrating to pay for a piece of expensive cleaning equipment when you don't even believe in cleaning, just imagine my angst when the thing didn't work. I called the toll free number on the instruction manual and (after a little call center humor with a southern accent as in "you broke it" with the reply "do you hear me laughing?") I was advised to return it to Canadian Tire. I gave up and walked the dog after that to remove myself from being dusted or scrubbed.

The afternoon slipped away with registration for the NENA (National Emergency Nurses Assoc) conference in May in the city. My manager urged me to ask for an education day for the Saturday as I was willing to pay the registration, meals, travel and accomodation as well as use my days off for the three day conference. The agenda looks top notch and I was going to take a vacation day anyway so feel I've won. I also was lost in the past as I searched for camp photos for my mother in law as there's an anniversary planned - think it's a 50th this year. I found some vintage pics from 1969-1972, some were even in color. Speaking of the past, I had a chat with a (retired - aren't they all?) classmate from nursing school as we are contemplating a Class of 76 get together. Made some sandwiches for a reception in the local hall as one of the neighbours was saying goodbye to her man friend of over 45 years.

We were hit with a sort of weather bomb in the form of the only major snowstorm we've had locally this year as I headed in for my first night shift. Made it in and back the second night by bumming rides with coworkers and having the shore captain ferry me to and fro the main highway as the secondary roads, and our driveway weren't cleared. Found enough snow to try out my snowshoes before work and it was good that I took the time as winter disappeared with the rain the next day.

We headed up to friends for a turkey supper on Saturday evening and when the life partner asked our hostess if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas (kind of forward for such a lovely meal) she said "early Easter". Great evening spent with good friends and conversation and we came home at midnight with leftovers. What is not to like?

On Sunday morning at 0645 I was awakened to a loud blast of Flo Rida singing Good Feeling. How is that you say? Well the shore captain (who is a huge fan of Flo Rida - you know the guy with the neon sneakers) has this as his ring tone on his ever present cell phone and the captain of his fishing boat had called to say he was heading out that day. Just turn your speakers up on your computer and close your eyes and relax to get the full effect of how this was as a wake up call:

Apparently Flo Rida is opening for Pit Bull at a concert next month in the city. Oh, too bad I'm scheduled to work the life partner will have to take his son in law or some other unsuspecting guest.

With such an early start to my day I was able to have laundry, brown bread, dishes done and start on making the photobooks I'd set as my 'days off goal' before 9 a.m. Since I am far from a morning person (lark) this night person (owl) doesn't wish a repeat performance. I did manage to create three different photo books over the past few days as I had Groupons which were expiring and couldn't let that happen. I was kind of pleased with my artistic efforts but although it's quicker than traditional scrapbooking, the digital format doesn't have the same feel to me as paper. It encouraged me to clean up my photos by downloading to the external hard drive, clearing the SD cards and organizing the folders.

Yesterday the shore captain suggested that we should go return the defective vacuum to the Canadian Tire which is about an hours drive. Now to anyone else this might sound like a chance to have supper, catch a movie or some other social activity in town. Oh no, not this guy. First, he doesn't call to arrange this (remember the cell phone he wears 24/7?) before he suddenly appears at 3 pm. in the house with one of his employees sitting in the truck. Why? Because he's completely out of gas and not sure they're going to make it to the garage so I should follow them out there. This ensures that I can't even send him on the exchange errand. He asks "do you want to go to eat or something?" and when I decline he says "oh good, then this is good enough to wear" and they're off. They do in fact make it without running out of fuel and his employee heads off in the truck. We make our trek to the store, return the vacuum and select another and then he starts browsing for tools like a kid in a candy store, which is the reason he was so quick to suggest 'we' do this errand. We finally head out to the car with our various purchases, stop for gas (I don't have anyone who follows me when I'm past E on the gauge) and pick up a few groceries - chicken, avocados, garlic bread and a bottle of rose, making our way home. As the electrician daughter said when she phoned "almost sounds romantic but I know who you're dealing with here". We had just sat down to eat when there was a noise at the front door and one of the local fishermen arrived - apparently the shore captain was to have picked up oil clothes for him at the plant and forgot. So...instead of going home he yaks at us while we eat - doesn't take me long to finish!

Today was a day to run errands as well as have the massage therapist get my shoulders working again as I'd sat at the computer too long being a photobook editor. Fit in a Frenchy's shop and found some things for myself and some gifts. Ecologically acceptable.

As this is the season to travel and with March Break next week, to travel with children I'm including a link to Nanny in the Clouds which is a way to find a Nanny on your flight:

As well as this for an analysis of why some trips are more fun than others:

And speaking of fun trips, for those of you fortunate enough to be heading off to Cuba, some links to paladares (which are private restaurants) in Havana:

Off to see if the lemon loaf has cooled so I can put it in my lunch - never make it that I don't think of how much I enjoyed my mothers over the years. And since I've not had 30 seconds of regrets since switching over to clinical work over two years ago and look forward to going to work every shift here is a link for three job questions:

There was a posting today by a local couple who are going to do some work in Dominican Republic at an orphange with their kids on vacation so I've offered to go through the medical stash I've accumulated as there is a leper facility in the area they are visiting. Will add some positive to my day tomorrow. Hasta.