Saturday, June 30, 2012

The cat came back

The reason for the catchy title is that this week has been one of feline issues. Stanley (seen here on the left) had a problem with his 'waterworks' and had to go to the vet. When I came home from work after a day shift I found him asleep in the litter box, he hissed when I took him out, skulked around the house hissing, growled at Gary when his buddy was concerned about him, protested when picked up and hid in back of the headboard of the bed. It was too late to call the vet so I made arrangements for the boy wonder to take him in to be seen in the a.m., wrote a note of his signs and symptoms, unearthed the cat carrier and hesitantly went to bed. At some point during the night I awoke to both cats sleeping on the bed so realized all was well. When I found Stanley in the livingroom in the morning he was sleeping on the mat, purring and wanting his belly rubbed but I didn't fall for that as the arrangements had been made. I headed off to work and called the vet when they opened thinking that perhaps Stanley had a stoppage of urine and needed to be catherized. They said to bring him right in so I relayed that message to the boy. Stanley got to spend the day (and night) at the vet's but it turns out he had an infection so doesn't need special food, has antibiotics and inflammatories and the bill was only $113 so I actually felt relieved. So you can see he's in good form and able to drive the dog out of her own bed.

So, to backtrack on the week....I did get to the writing group afternoon and enjoyed myself thoroughly. The weather was sort of drizzly and as the time for leaving approached I thought 'well, I can sit around here or go accomplish something' so I whipped up a batch of biscuits, grabbed my MacBook Air and took off. The host has a fabulous property of gardens which have won awards and there was a group of nine who thoroughly enjoyed the exercises, chatting and eating. Got some exercises for my 'stash' for the next cruise ship speaking gig as well as starting some memoir stories.

The shore captain left for meetings in Cape Cod on Monday morning and so left his truck home as I ran him to the highway to meet his travelmates. On my way home from work that evening the check engine light came on in my ancient car. I asked the boy to check the oil for me but that took two days to get done so in the meantime I decided to drive the truck. I find it almost empty of gas and no gas card to fill it up. My call to his nibs Stateside was short and to the point! I stopped and put in $20 on my way home just as an incredible hailstorm struck the area.

I head in for my third LD - almost guaranteed to finish me off - and it erupts into pandemonium. By noontime the boss has sent me home to return for a LN as there is a sick call and no one to replace. There are worse things than doing the turnaround and that would have been staying the way things were going on that shift. I eat my BBQ lunch, go pick up my parcel at the post office, retrieve Stanley who is relieved to see me, skittish and freaked out all at the same time and head home. When we arrive, although it's only been 24 hours, Gary decides this is a foreign cat and threatens him. Poor Stanley. The only way to get the thug to back off was to show him the cat carrier - he ran. As if he'd fit in one that size! So much for cats missing each other.

So two very busy LNs and a beautiful day slept away in between and I am finally finished my set of shifts. Just in time to welcome back the shore captain from his self described "painfully dragging on meetings" and do a first aid course Friday evening and Saturday after not enough sleep. Small but well behaved crowd so got through in good time. Came home to find the shore captain was doing double duty as a farmer and had planted the front containers with the New Guinea impatients I'd had delivered to my vehicle at work from a  staff member who runs a garden center and something yellow he'd found at the store and he even pulled a few weeds. A quick sit in the sun, dogwalk, BBQ for supper with sangria and everything seems much better.

Have invited the first of the returning summer neighbours over for supper tomorrow so that will be a good chance to catch up. And speaking of travels and luggage:

Now if I had a few more minutes in the day to read I might read the book Drive as review here:

The New York Times bestseller that gives readers a paradigm—shattering new way to think about motivation.
Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink in Drive. In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live our lives

There was a bit of disappointment in this household tonight as the shore captain learned he had yet again not been sucessful in the moose draw. For those who unsure of how to draw for a moose - it is a government lottery held each fall where 10,000 resident Nova Scotians apply for 345 licenses. The man has applied every year since this lottery has been in existence and has yet to win so this isn't really a surprise. Now if the physician at my workplace who applied this year for the first time is successful....that will be another matter.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The MacBook Air has landed

After three calls to tech support I am now posting this entry on my MacBook Air.  I was a tad less than impressed that I couldn't discover the tech support hours of operation or which time zone they operate in - Apple can sure advertise about lots of other more minor info. I was also not pleased that I found an email which I couldn't edit in my username section "this had better be the default and not a previous owner "I threatened the tech, and I'm hoping this is so. At any rate they sent a link to reset the password and so I move forward. Some positives are that the tech does call you back almost immediately if you get disconnected and the second and third calls were to very competent guys, not the least bit condescending (somewhat unusual) and very helpful. I told the last one that I didn't want to have to ask my two Apple using daughters for help as I was a newbie with Macs and he completely understood.  If I will I be judged materialistic and as adding to the consumerism of the world, well so be it. 

So..... as I start this I should be doing housework - but does unloading the dishwasher while waiting for a software update to upload count? Here I am playing. I've managed to figure out how to upload my photos, sign in for FaceTime, bookmark my favourites and NO I don't want to take a pic of myself for my profile (bad hair day) and surfed around a bit. How can you not like a browser called Safari which even has a compass? I am actually getting used to navigating without a mouse. I find the MacBook Air has the features of a larger laptop but is no heavier/larger than my netbook but with lots more speed and storage. I feel equipped to run away from home now for an extended period. Ahh, that I should be thinking of a  month in Africa as my former work colleague mentioned at lunch.

A friend and myself headed out on a road trip this week finding that we (amazingly) had a day off together. We stopped on the way for the life partners reading glasses - he best NOT be sitting on those even if the benefits paid for them. I have just received my own two sets of glasses with a new (lesser) Rx but this apparently doesn't mean you're getting younger, rather that ones retinas are changing and now have to arrange for a Rx snorkel. We hit three top quality Frenchys in our day, visited with the aforementioned former work buddy and had lunch (homemade cream of mushroom soup, focaccia club sandwich and strawberry pie with a pot of tea) in a lovely tea shop looking out over a beautiful harbour, picked up some essentials (including supper and strawberries) and stumbled into the house after a great day. What is not to like? I scored a number of very top notch finds and I'm not sure if it's imagination or whether folks are getting more materialistic and disposable but the Frenchy finds are often new and great quality now. The prices have risen a bit so it's no longer a case of 'I'll take this and someone will use it' but still wonderful value. I got a (politically incorrect) Old Navy fur lined vest, duvet and cover, tops, pjs, socks, t-shirts and underwear for the menfolk, tumblers, and placemats.

Whaddyamean I don't fit in?
In our Frenchy's powershop I managed to pick up a sturdy basket for the kitty boys and you can tell it was well received. My travel partner was unsure it would be appreciated but who are we kidding? It's a basket! If only they were as cooperative with other aspects of their life. Stanley had an episode while we were traveling a week ago, of feline urinary problems so I spoke to the vet's office and although it resolved decided to purchase some low ash cat food. Now these two guys are anything but fussy however.....neither one of them (a first as we buy various brands) would touch the $26 bag of food. The only animal interested was the dog (who shouldn't be) knocking the food down and scarfing it down any chance she got, even after being punished. So there it sits in the cupboard. Sigh.

The teacher daughter has recently been up and down on a roller coaster as the cutbacks make their way in to the world of a recently graduated teacher. She worked a maternity leave her first year which although it provides wages, benefits and pensionable earnings, does not count for seniority.  This year which is ending was a term position which counts towards seniority but it takes (at least) a second year of a term position to be in line for a probationary contract. The touchy part is that the terms must be in sequence meaning that if a term wasn't obtained for next year the process would start all over. With all the cuts to education this year the position at 'her school' was filled by others so she was looking at settling for a mat leave.  Fortunately with a recommendation from her principal she was granted an interview and given a grade six classroom at a school about 20 minutes suburban drive from her house. The first year she'll not have a split classroom and double the work.  And she'll be able to teach any grade from P - 6 now as she's prepped for all those over the past few years.

I recently encountered a buddy of my oldest brother who recounted one of their (tamer/repeatable) escapades of about 50 years ago. Apparently they were driving Dad's small car (likely the Hillman) and made their way home without the use of headlights as there wasn't enough 'juice' to run the lights.  I have been told worse.

The boy wonder continues to rake irish moss this week and was pleased to have 3810 lbs in two tides. He was off to visit with the hairdresser student girlfriend for the evening saying she was going to make him supper (she can cook Kraft dinner - in response to my questioning of her culinary skills) after she was doing 'prom hair' all day. At home we have enjoyed lobster pizza as we worked to perfect the recipe from our travels. If not the same it was at least yummy. And I relented on the earlier 'no housework rule' and made strawberry shortcakes for supper, orange loaf (was supposed to be lemon loaf but in not reading the recipe I assumed it took lemon juice - oops lemon rind) and lobster sandwiches. Ahhh.

Tomorrow (today was a rain cancellation) I am anticipating an afternoon with Write Away in one of the member's gardens.  How do those five days off just slip away?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Data Rich - Insight Poor

The title of this post was used in a newspaper article to describe modern society but it could certainly be used specifically in the field of healthcare. Daily examples which I'll refrain from sharing as it makes my blood pressure go up on my days off. I will however share the best call of one my recent shifts which goes like this:

Me: Emergency, RN, can I help you?
She: Yes, I'm wondering if you read blood tests right there?
          My husband has a pain in his appendix
Me: We do lab tests here but how does your husband know the pain is in his appendix?
She: Well, it's right where his appendix is and it hurts when he presses on it
Me: We don't have a surgeon so if he needs an operation we can't do that here
She: Okay, we'll go to the regional hospital then
Me: Well, that would be your choice ma'am

I turned to find my coworker (a previous OR nurse two decades ago when we did do surgeries) looking intently at me and I related the conversation. Obviously the self diagnosis option on Dr. Google was all they needed - really nothing to say after that, we sighed in unison.

Speaking of work, the teacher daughter is at the stage of yet again waiting to see if she has a job this fall and she graduated three years ago. She has been lucky as she teaches in French Immersion but with the budget cutbacks the situation remains uncertain. The English speaking teachers are even more precarious and it is so unfortunate that keen, bright young teachers wait years to obtain a permanent contract.

This week however the focus in her household is removing and residing their home. Her father is heading down to assist/supervise this process but it will be late tomorrow before he arrives as his worklife has (yet again) gotten in the way. In the meantime the removal of the original cladding will be started by the son-in-law. I will miss all the excitement as I have appointments and will be back to work on the weekend. Darn. 
Ahhhh, bedtime on my Cabelas bed

I'm including a photo of the fur daughter enjoying the gift we brought her back from the US. I had been feeling guilty about her 12 year old bones (she's 84 in dog years) on the concrete floor at night in the mudroom. She puts herself to bed about 9:30 pm as you can see.

And since I'm mentioning those a bit long in the tooth, I was thrilled to find this article about a senior backpacker. There is still hope for us. I had read a status a few weeks ago on FB by someone our age stating that they likely only had 15 years of traveling remaining. Now even with three really fun trips annually this total is not as high as I'd like with the bucket list I have.

The more junior travelers in our family had returned from the resort week in BC which they'd enjoyed fully. However when it came time to leave they were met by a 90 minute drive out to the Trans Canada Hwy only to find that it was closed by a mudslide so had to retrace their route. Then a couple of hours drive south to find their way blocked by a snowstorm. Along the way the youngest discovered she'd left her cell phone at the resort. Someone named Rachel called us the next day to advise of that as well. Eventually they made it back to Alberta and seemed to be recovering well today.

As I was recovering myself from my night shift I had a restless nap this am due to multiple calls of telemarketers, reminders of appointments and a desperate plea from the luggage repair store asking that the suitcase left be picked up - this of course was 'forgotten' by the life partner his previous trip to the city. Upon arising from nights with only a partial sleep it is necessary to do only routine tasks such as housework etc. so I cleaned out some bureau drawers, put away laundry and cleared weeds in the flower beds. I looked up the driveway to see the boy captain diligently working on his mossing punt (boat) and the smell of fiberglas resin wafted towards me. The next time I glanced in that direction he had put this large flat boat on a trailer, tucked a smaller boat (tender) inside and was hauling the trailer with his 4wheeler. As his father pulled in the yard the lad passed him and headed down the highway about 1/4 km to access the shore. Such is our history with such events that we didn't speak of it, just shook our heads. Later when speaking to his sister, mister disclosed that when he had launched the boat and was leaving the shore with the trailer it disintegrated - nothing he did of course, not his fault. Sigh, can't wait for his father to discover that part of the saga.

And to close - a quote relating to writing and characters.......the right thing is almost never the most outlined by this link:

"Don't wait. The time will never be just right."   — Napoleon Hill: was an author and pioneer of the
personal development genre

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hallo from Bwaston

Well as my days off + one draw to a close it is time to think of returning to reality and my next set of shifts. I am typing this from a hotel beside an interstate outside of Boston. My travel partner and I are indulging in some R&R with TV surfing for he and blogging for she before the long migration northward tomorrow. Our (hopefully) 12 hour trek will begin early. But at least I'll be in better shape than on the trip down when I snoozed my way through two provinces as my chauffeur motored along since we left after my final night shift. The evening in St. Andrews by the Sea consisted of a great seafood meal and unconsciousness by 7 pm.

Our travels down to Maine the next day were an experience due in large part to either dyslexia or ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) on the part of the life/travel partner. What it is about saying left that makes him turn right I'm not sure....Apparently the oldest daughter has experienced this phenomena as well on a previous trip to New England. There's also the 'la la la I'm not listening - sort of Charlie Brown's teacher blah blah blah' response to instructions to "turn here" where he can't hear a female voice. This was especially obvious in Calais where he traveled in circles for an hour before giving in and taking this navigators advice. However we did make it to Portland in good time. The shore captain went off to press the flesh while delivering his company caps and mugs to those he exports. I made like a tourist and wandered the rainy streets checking out the small shops. Ahhh. We headed out to Freeport (and mister had a little navigationally challenged relapse) to find LL Bean. He was surprised to find lots of hunting and camo gear with some wildlife displays in a wannabe Cabelas sort of way. I was tickled pink to find several things on my list for my 'next great adventure' with detailsto be shared later. A run back to the hotel and a great 35th anniversary meal including a lobster flat bread. And yes, this is in the plans for the house menu. The next day was a repeat of the previous, complete with a few showers and the addition of a crowd of cruise ship passengers as I shopped. A run to Cabelas was substituted for LL Bean and the life partner was correct, it was sort of a visit to a natural museum/shrine to hunting experience. I did convince him to pick up a bed for the dog as well as his own toys. Upon return, I managed to escape for a few hours of shopping at the mall around the corner - discovering JoAnns craft store and meeting the hubby for supper at AppleBees.

A run down the turnpike to Boston in the a.m. and a lunch invitation in Lynn to a great place called the Red Rock Bistro in Swampscott - here you can check it out:

Enjoyed a wonderful meal and great conversation with our host and his assistant. I indulged in a pulled pork cubano bocadillo. Yum. A bit of a challenge to locate our hotel and on this particular day Onstar was NOT helpful. They cited an area of reduced data coverage - "malarky" I told the shore captain, "their network is down". They had no idea where we were, couldn't give us accurate directions, sent very confusing taped directions to the vehicle etc. AND they did it twice! We did eventually make it to the hotel in time to decompress and I called my firefighter cousin from Winthrop to make supper arrangements. He and his wife arrived to pick us up and we had a great Italian meal with lots of catching up all around. Nice to be safely deposited back to our home away from home as well. Today brought a trip to downtown Boston to visit the Boston Fish Pier and the No Name Pier. I managed to read a good bit of my ebook in the sun while the shore captain schmoozed at the first stop and get some modern photos of the spot where my grandfather had worked in the 1930s on the second. We opted not to stop in the downtown fearing that the rush hour traffic would defeat us. We instead headed down the shore and returned to the bistro for a second lunch, this time indulging in a cobb salad and lobster pizza (lobster, carmelized onions, fig jam, blue cheese and more) which sounds weird but tasted wonderful - with beautiful views of the bay. However when we attempted to make our way 'home' we were defeated and called upon Onstar with very good results. Apparently this is how it is supposed to work and we shortly found our way back.

The word (and photographic evidence) from the vacationing daughters is that all is going well out west so good vacations all around. But all good things must come to an end so tomorrow the road warriors will make their way home.