Monday, September 23, 2013

Sea Lift and more

As the weekend has slipped away and I am looking at heading down to work in the morning it is time to update the blog. I have been working on a number of pursuits - made a casserole of macaroni and cheese (weather for comfort food here) baked brownies, read a bit in my book, got out for a walk with the camera and did some crocheting. I guess if I need motivation, this site is a good resource:

I was first on call yesterday and second on call tonight, although I was only called to have a look at something which I saw yesterday. The days in the clinic have been rather full but the after hours (except for some exceptions outlined below) have been manageable. I have managed an IV on a 5 year old and a blood draw for a seven year old this week so am getting back into the saddle. Starting on the third week of this contract already - time always flies up here!

I had a rather steady on call shift yesterday but at least it wasn't like the one night last week that my co-worker endured which involved lots of celebrating and calls from the inebriated. Each community has tags for various hunts ex. bowhead whales and the tag from here was used by hunters from Gjoa Haven, who took some local boats and local men to harvest a 33 ft. bowhead whale on the other side of the Boothia Peninsula. Their return with the whale included ocean travel, then overland, then lake, overland and sea again. They arrived with lots of cut up whale meat and the partying began, it included fireworks (COOP just got some brought in by barge) and firewater. No, that's not brought by barge but it is mailed in and transported back as in "can I take my action packer with me to get groceries?" when accompanying a sick patient. "No, you may not, it won't fit in the King Air". The bowhead celebration began with a community feast and extended for a couple of days,  as I mentioned causing multiple phone calls to the nurse on call. As in "the bowhead people are in my house and they won't leave,  (aside to the intruders) time to go now, where are the police? can you call the police? is this the police? one of the bowhead people grabbed me by the throat seven times etc etc etc. approximately every 20 minutes or so. A looonnnnggg night when you have to get up and put in a full day following that.
Awaiting unloading
Heading back for another load
The second ship with supplies for Taloyoak was here a couple of days offloading materials and has since moved on to its next port in Nunavik (northern Quebec). It was interesting to see how they moved the containers, crates and various construction supplies from the ship to storage on the shore. The foreman who I spoke with said the usual northern shipping season is from May to October depending on ice and weather conditions.
Snow will soon be staying
Barge with tug unloading
 Long hours for the (mostly Quebecois) heavy equipment operators moving large amounts of materials from the shore to its storage area near the various construction sites. There will be one more shipment for this community which is expected next week. After that, it will be next year before some of the materials ex. empty oxygen cylinders being shipped out for refill can be sent. There was a lot of movement, energy and excitement in the community while the ship was in. Years before there were flights, especially daily (or supposed to be daily) flights, ships were the only means of movement for supplies and people to travel 'out'. You have a new appreciation for limited resources when you see an entire community's annual bulk needs arrive in the sea lift. Some families do a  'barge order' and every apartment/house has a 'sea lift' room for storage. The northern health centres annual barge orders are completed by the spring, packed in Quebec and arrive in September. That's long range planning. In between annual orders the supplies are 'shared' between health centres and 'put on the flight' if we run short of anything. It is a real lesson in cooperation.

As I was on hold on the phone last week waiting to speak to someone on the 'eye team' in Yellowknife I realized that instead of musak I was listening to the local radio station in Hay River as I heard the name Ptarmigan Inn and then The Dog House, which apparently is a pub where Thursday evening is 'carnivore night'. My coworker and I did a pretty good replication of this when we shopped on Friday evening at the Northern Store and found fresh steaks and frozen ribs so bought a bag of chips to go with them - had a little testosterone rush when we were planning the meal.  My coworker proudly said "I picked the one which still had air in it" and they were pretty fresh - mind you, they're light enough to get flown in but....they do get handled as roughly as any luggage in the north. And although bread gets flown in...there wasn't any for several days at the COOP and a very limited, crusty supply at The Northern. Biscuits are always the solution.

I received news from my dog walker that the taps weren't producing any water at the house when she was down. There are some times that it's best to be away and not involved in plumbing issues however....the shore captain sent a cryptic message to my inquiry that he'd been searching for gloves and hit the switch next to the water pump. If all solutions were that easy!

Had meant to have a FaceTime chat with the life partner this afternoon but the internet was iffy due to the 50 km + winds so we settled on tomorrow. The high winds caused the flight to Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay) to be unable to land and so the ultrasound tech who was expected to arrive today from there will be here (hopefully) tomorrow. So I had a FaceTime chat with my buddy from home - and she says she's not into computers - on her iPod. Even saw the wonderful squash she got at the market! Caught up on the news both south and north and heard about her first shift as a retired person where she chose to do a casual shift - entirely different than 'having' to go apparently. Much the same as I feel here.

I did get out for a walk about noontime and it was a cutting wind! Walked up towards the water reservoir aka lake and will have to try to get back again in milder conditions as it is pretty. The only tracks I noticed were likely dogs and the polar bear which had been sighted last week wasn't seen near this area. Although today is the first day of fall, the local weather if measured in Nova Scotia standards would be a definite winter report. And to think the news from NS is that the fall colours are in full swing. Hard to believe when I look at the white stuff on the ground here which will soon be staying. I asked Rita in the office when the snow came to stay and she said "sometime before Hallowe'en, I'm not really sure when but I want to use my skidoo." When you have snow on the ground about nine months of the year, it's not something you put a lot of thought into.

Traditional fishing hook and line
So on Thursday afternoon I had a visit from a local fellow who often makes traditional crafts - and sells them to those of us passing through. He had a hook and line, which of course would be an appropriate gift for a fisherman in my life. As you can see, it's made of a caribou bone with a 9 ft line of caribou sinew (for spring fishing as that's the depth of the ice by then) with a bone hook on the end. Daniel told me that his grandmother would have covered the rectangle of bone holding the hook with fish skin to make the lure look even more fishlike. He does lovely work and it is a great souvenir - he didn't even have to pick up the phone in the front entry of the health centre and say "I'm in the foyer with some crafts" which is much too grand a term for such a humble spot.

Family bed
And finally to close I must clarify something that will be obvious to those with good observation skills. Maude, the recently adopted grandkitty is missing a front leg - not back - as is obvious from the photo. Apparently she and Miss Molly are settling in well and best friends - two babies that will grow up together - and the two original fur children are tolerating the new additions with the only small issue that Pous has developed an addiction to kitten food  (versus weight control food) and yowls at the cupboard where it is kept. Large family now. Good thing the puppy will be trained before winter sets in.

Time to crawl into the sack now. The cold which I've been housing for the past two weeks has decided to settle in to a bark. Nice. Doesn't lead to a great deal of empathy when someone comes to the office and tells me that they've had this bug for three or four days and they're tired of it. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Maude and Molly and more

Yesterday I ventured out for a walk with the camera as I was off and it was a sunny (if breezy and cool)  day. Today I am first on call so if I was to check on any changes since my last visit, yesterday was the day. Today has been one of interior pursuits as I sit by the phone.

Arctic cotton grass

Dusty until the snow comes
Beach at Sandy Point

Ponds freezing over 
Sik sik 

Sik sik 
I walked out towards the airport and then down to the beach. I was wearing my Pang hat with the hood  of my Columbia jacket pulled over top but I regretted choosing my 'southern' gloves over the sealskin mittens I left on the table. The wind made it feel like a walk on a NS beach on a December day, the kind that numbs your thighs through your pants and your face seem like it's on fire. As I walked along the road I realized the ponds were freezing over, there was only cotton grass left for flowering vegetation and then got a squeaky lecture from a sik sik (arctic marmot) which I surprised near his burrow. Waiting patiently as if I were an Inuk hunter, I managed to capture a couple of shots as he played peek a boo with me - oops, she's still there. Sure was chubby with a thick pelt, getting ready for the long winter. 

Lots of construction going on in the hamlet, a great deal of it surrounding the health centre. The work continues seven days a week as the push is on to get this stage of the project completed before winter sets in. The barge has been unloaded of supplies and equipment which are ready and waiting. 

Heavy equipment

Supplies stacked
new health centre

Waiting to go

arena renos
It sure looks like winter work to me but one of the workers told me proudly today that the weather had been cooperating nicely and they were continuing on later than they'd hoped. And there is no snow which has stayed yet, in fact since I've been here, no white stuff falling although communities all around us have had some white outs. The feeling in the air is that it won't be long now. Kind of like that maritime December weather when it's just making up its mind whether to be rain or snow.  I've decided that my favourite season in this community is spring/summer as in May/June when it's warmish, no bugs and 24 hours of daylight. At this point the daylight is equal to the maritimes but shortens more quickly. 

Last night, me, my coworker and the mental health worker had supper together here. My coworker is wanting to learn to bake/cook so we gave her stew making lessons and she created caribou stew as we'd been gifted with some, biscuits and a dessert called crema de catalina - kind of a creme brûlée. There was a gift of wine as well so we had a nice meal and a few laughs. After supper there was a fireworks display visible out our window so that was Saturday evening Taloyoak style. 

I had a message from the nurse daughter who had mentioned during her visit in Edmonton that they were looking into adopting a three legged kitty from the shelter. Not sure of the details but it was an injury not a birth defect and is a hind leg. As her father said the pest control (an outdoor three legged cat which came with the fish plant he bought a few years ago) "gets around pretty good and we think she's 16 or so".  So, Maude (as she was renamed by the adoptive parents) was picked up yesterday. She looked a bit unsure in the first photo but today's picture showed her settling in. She is friendly and personable and I told her adoptive mother that taking in a three legged kitty made up for her abandoning Stanley to us when she was a teenaged mother. But...... there is another chapter to the story. When on their way to the shelter they found a small puppy (looks to be about eight weeks old) wandering on the main road and thinking she'd escaped from the shelter took her inside. Nope, not theirs but they were taken out back and shown a mother dog with a puppy identical to this one found outside of town. What to do? Well, take her home of course, as she'd found them. Apparently she slept all night - I'm sure by the time she was bathed, fed and put to sleep in a soft bed she just collapsed. Tonight will likely be the test. The resident cat and dog are apparently coping well with the babies and they are now a four animal family. Babies are so much work but what can you do when they find you?

So, my call day has been manageable and although I've seen patients and fielded phone calls, I had a chance to work on an infinity scarf for my coworker, make split pea soup and biscuits and catch up on email. The slower pace suits a CHN recovering from the cold her coworker gave her. Oh and if you're wondering about the work done by a CHN (community health nurse) here's a link to an article in the Canadian Nurses Association newsletter - albeit a different cultural group, but many similarities. 

Anyway, enough rambling. Time to gather myself and go check out a baby. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Home again, home again

Where to begin? Well.....I am north of 60 but there's been a fair bit of living in between the last posting and this update.

I started out on Sunday afternoon after the shore captain arrived with fish for all his girls. There was halibut and haddock enough for everyone - me and the three daughters - and so I packed the bags of seafood and cold packs into my luggage and headed down to store the car. That is where things got interesting.  I sent a text (as requested) when I got within half an hour to the guy at the storage facility. Thought it was strange I didn't get a reply but continued on. No one there when I (and a few minutes later the teacher daughter) arrived. So I sent an email, a voice mail message with a number to call me back and another text. It was clear that this was not going to work as an option for me to store my car this trip. So....we headed back towards to the city. We had originally intended to eat at Pizza Delight but when the final decision to store the car in the daughter's driveway (full garage) was made we opted for supper at Ela's:

where we enjoyed pitas with dips then chicken with saffron sauce, roast potatoes and veggies. When the #2 daughter commented that I was taking the situation pretty well I acknowledged that I was doing better now that I'd eaten - how could saffron chicken be wrong? So I left the vehicle in their driveway and the daughter and son-in-law dropped me back to the ALT Hotel. What a spiffy joint that is. The lobby is straight out of Norway and the rooms are very swish. No fridge though so that meant a few trips to the ice machine to fill up the trash can to store my fish in. A great sleep and then only a few steps to the departure area of the airport. 

My travel partner was already checked in, through security and waiting at the gate. A painless check in with an agent who was very tolerant and decided not to charge me overweight on the 4 lbs in my bag. On to the flight and one of the CHNs from my first contract in Cambridge Bay was on the plane with her family coming back from vacation in Newfoundland. Had a chance to catch up on the work news in Pearson while we waited for the flight to Edmonton. The usual flight of oil field and mine workers and I took the opportunity to watch Internship - a comedy to pass the time about two older salesmen going to Google - made me giggle. What did not make me smile was when the flight attendant told my young travel partner (on her first flight to Nunavut) that her ticket had a sandwich and snack attached to it and gave her the choice of wrap or baguette. I took out my credit card and decided that I'd buy food too (something I NEVER do on flights) and asked for a flat bread pizza but the flight attendant said "sorry we're all sold out" so I put my Visa away with a scowl. To her credit my colleague did offer me part of her snack but by then I was too spitey to agree. Must've been beginners luck because I checked with the travel agent who books for us (asking where is my sandwich?) and she advised they don't book food with the ticket, my travel partner got lucky. My younger travel buddy asked me "why I didn't have a pension?" when I explained my reason for working north so I told her that "old folks like me fought for the right for pensions to be transferrable, so now people her age benefitted as it hasn't always been the way it is now." 

We arrived on time in Edmonton and navigated the ritual of luggage retrieval, shuttle and hotel check in. Then we decided to rent a vehicle (office in the hotel) for the afternoon to go grocery shopping. It was only $15 - $20 and a quick process, so something I'll be trying on. I did my grocery shopping at Walmart and was assisted and driven back to the hotel by the nurse daughter. She was amazingly perky for someone just off nights with only two hours of sleep. The electrician daughter joined us as soon as we returned to the hotel and we had a great catch up. Through some miscommunication, there was only one action packer stored with daughter #1. I had said to her younger sister "does she have both my action packers?" and most of us would understand this to mean more than one. The answer had been "yup". Yet when I asked the electrician daughter for the other tote she looked surprised and her sister said "oh I saw that in the barn before I moved out here". "So you mean to tell me that I left it in NS as I thought it was in Alberta, you knew it was there and then I asked if your sister had the action packerS and you said yes?" Ummm, well yup, I guess that's it. The oldest daughter (always the problem solver) suggested a cheap tote to make the trip north once and be used to store my 'stuff to be left' in. Thus we journeyed to another Walmart for this on the way back from supper. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at Japanese Village and then headed back to the hotel. The oldest drove back to her place as she had work in the morning, the youngest hit the sack and was out like a light from all the sleep deprivation. I checked in online for my flight, packed and stored my groceries then sent the totes to the hotel roll in cooler for retrieval in the morning. I readied everything so I could sneak away quietly without waking my sleepover guest and crashed myself. 

Tuesday morning was an early start as my eyes were open before the 5:30 am wakeup call. A quick out the door, kiss and goodbye for the sleeping daughter and down to the lobby. The totes were retrieved from the cooler for me - much better than wrestling them out of the room on a cart - and out to the shuttle. Over to the terminal after dropping off lots of blue collar passengers flying into the mines and oil patch and listening to an American hunter boast how he was working on his North America 29 (he explained this was a trophy list from a certain group) which included caribou, dahl sheep, bears etc. This is why the flight had so much excess baggage with all the ammunition, firearms and huge tote bags. In to the gate, check in and what a hassle - why must I get the person in training? Fully booked flight, so one of my bags (the non perishables) wasn't made priority, long lineup at the overweight baggage scanner - military group going to Resolute Bay, although security wasn't as bad as I have seen it was 75 minutes from hotel lobby through to security in the end.  Outside to board the flight and then.....we wait, and wait as a mechanical problem is fixed. It's the altimeter so no one grumbles that it's not necessary but after two hours we're all getting kinda stiff from being jammed into the seats and not having gone anywhere. The repairs are finally completed and we are off, but the concern is now that we have missed our connection. The announcement is made that our flight in Yellowknife is being held and we will connect after all. Yeehaw! An uneventful flight (the best kind) and we're down in Yellowknife, booting it over to the small room which serves as Canadian North and First Air terminal and then outside to catch the turbo prop to Nunavut. There are beautiful fall colours in the hills surrounding Kugluktuk as we come in for the landing and I visit with patients and health centre staff at the terminal. Another stop in Cambridge Bay and a visit with the Regional Manager who was meeting a nurse on the flight and then off to Taloyoak. We all traipse into the terminal and I say goodbye to the my travel partner, who still has two more take offs and landings before reaching Gjoa Haven. I wish her well in her adventure. I find that no one has come to get me from the health centre - yes the flight is late but I still need a drive (coworker shunning is never good) - I could have called for a lift but when I find I've been stood up, the RCMP Cst. meeting someone else on the flight offers to drop me at the centre and even carries my one action packer (second tote didn't arrive with me)  up the steps and into the entryway. "Thanks a bunch" I say to my boss and coworker who look at me with surprise when I open the door. "Hah, I love you too!" and then I realize 'it's good to be home' and am off up the stairs to settle in. First step is to wash the clothes in my duffle bag as the fish leaked on them. Sigh. My internet is activated so I catch up online with folks and find my buddy in Iqaluit has flown out of Gjoa Haven with the homecare nurse who was supposed to orientate my travel partner, so much for that idea. He also tells me that there was a helicopter crash near Resolute Bay, where they were checking ice conditions, with three fatalities. Sad.

Ice in the ponds
Tuktu in the fall
Wednesday was a day of welcomes and the usual routine. Just slightly rusty after my eight week vacation but quickly back into the swing of things. The usual walk ins and appointments in the morning and prenatal visits and school kids immunizations in the afternoon.  My second tote was delivered by Canadian North and the young fellow even carried it up the stairs for me. Nellie had taken first call, so I at least had the evening to take a walk down to the shore (brrr ice is forming), put away my supplies, cook my fish and catch up on my rest. The hunters have been getting a lot of caribou as they are passing by Taloyoak in their fall migration and are really fat. There was a lot of construction activity in
The open ocean
the hamlet as the projects wrap up for the season as well as containers from the barge which arrived last
Containers everywhere
week. There are three barges which will bring supplies in the sea lift. First was the COOP, next week is The Northern Store and the last will be a general barge. All kinds of new supplies needing to be stored for the next year, we received our shipment of oxygen cylinders (obviously they can't be flown in) and lots of office and medical supplies to find spots for.

Today I was on call and it was a busy morning with screaming kids, complicated appointments, and lots of phone calls. The usual. The afternoon was well baby immunization plus some urgent calls. I asked Nellie to consult on one of the patients she has seen last week who had returned and he was rude to her saying that she hadn't listened to him or treated him properly. She promptly left the office. I thought to myself that perhaps he was out of touch with reality to do something so dumb as insulting the indeterminant (full time) staff member. It was one of the visits that became the longest running saga since Bonanza. Sigh. This evening on call so far has been one of only phone calls and baking lessons for my coworker who learned to make scones tonight. She had some wonderful orange infused dried cranberries which made delicious scones. I got to taste one without having to make them - perfect set up. Off to settle in with one ear cocked for the on call phone. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Social Butterfly

Let's try this again shall we? Last night I stayed up until almost 1 a.m. and with about two hours of work updated the blog. Had it all finished and was just proof reading it when something happened and I lost the entire post. No way could I recover it. Sigh. Nothing to do but go to bed and try again today. Since there was so much I wanted to tell you, I'll do it again. Hopefully this time will be quicker.

Last week my two buddies took me out to lunch at The Lobster Shack as promised. It was delicious (of course) and I enjoyed my hot lobster roll with house salad (spinach, nuts, dried cranberries, cheese in a blueberry vinaigrette) Yum. Somehow my generous hosts managed between them to overpay the bill and the waitress followed us out to the car to give us the money. She was obviously raised properly as she could have had a generous tip since my two benefactors weren't comparing notes. 

Wednesday was my road trip to physio and I was proclaimed 'on the road to recovery'. I have exercises to do which include hanging my arm over the edge of the table with a soup can in my hand for 15 minutes daily and wrapping a towel around my head and pulling up with both hands on the ends as if to lengthen myself. Might be best if I am without a roommate this time as anyone watching this performance would likely fill out the Form 5 (Nunavut version of involuntary committal papers) on me. I have almost complete range of motion back now in my left shoulder now. Not a big fan of the posture support brace but I'll wear it while working I've promised. 

Thursday my friend and I had plans to go to Tancook Island for the day to do something fun and different as a distraction on the anniversary of her husband's death. The plans were changed as her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter were heading down from the city after work for the weekend and we needed a shorter day trip - Tancook is on the next summer list now. I told my buddy to dress in layers and wear boots as we were going on a mystery outing and I would have her back by 3 p.m. I picked her up at 8 a.m. and revealed that we were going to The Cape which is Cape Sable, a spit of land with a lighthouse off the The Hawk and the most southwesterly tip of Nova Scotia. Had made arrangements
Capt. Leslie Smith
for a retired fisherman to take us over in his outboard and pick us up later. He most certainly did not look his age of 85! He was so spry as he knelt on the floor of the boat, telling us stories with a twinkle in his eye as he is fond of the ladies. He also brought two men, one local and a friend from near Toronto, over to the Cape and picked us all up together in the afternoon. The local guy was telling us that years ago he had been a plumber in the city and he and a friend had shared a ride home on the weekends with Leslie and some other Coast Guard rescue boat staff who were doing training in the city. One weekend when the Lunenburg Fisheries Exhibition was on they stopped to pick up two girls heading to the Ex. Since there were six guys in the vehicle they climbed right in and sat on laps of fellows in the back seat. Leslie was annoyed that he was sitting in the front seat not the back! It was clear when we started over but the fog shut in as we approached the Cape and it was drizzly at times, then warm as the sun almost broke through giving risk 
of a 'fog burn'. Very comfortable weather for walking though as we hiked the beach with collections of various plovers skittering around, found some little footprints which were most likely mink, then surprised the sheep as we cut across the grass to check out the cottages, inspected the fenced in 'trees' in the middle of the Cape, caused a beautiful hawk to jump up and soar away and finally stopped for lunch outside of Aunt Lottie's Hotel where we found a note stating the conditions for staying overnight - $20 per night or $30 for two nights, bring your own drinking water and sleeping bags. Now that would be a fun adventure! We had a delicious picnic on a checkered tablecloth of cheese buns with roast beef, cheddar, havarti and mustard, carrots, watermelon, fruit bars and pink champagne at 11 a.m. with a toast to our missing friend. A couple of years back when four of us women headed over to Cape Negro Island we had a wonderful picnic of all sorts of homemade cookies, wine, etc. and ruminated as to what men would take for a picnic - a bag of chips and beer it was decided. When the guys visiting the Cape were
Aunt Lottie's Hotel
questioned by Leslie as to whether they had a picnic one stated "well we had some food, I wouldn't call it a picnic" which further proved our theory. A day of memories and reflections which had just the right pace. After lunch we made our way to the lighthouse (yes it most certainly does need to be painted and that is what the fundraising is for) and wow the fog horn is loud! The shore captain's grandfather and his great uncle used to keep the light over 70 years ago so there were lots of 'on the Cape' stories but I had never visited it before. We walked back along the beach and it reminded us of the Outer Banks of the Carolinas. So peaceful with the seagulls and little shorebirds fluttering around. We then noticed that the two mean were waiting for pickup on a point of land across a low marshy area which even the sheep were avoiding.  Brackish pools, spiky grass and smell of mud flats of childhood past.
 Walking around the edge, then attempting some of the higher areas only caused wet feet from the marsh muck. Finally we made out way to the point and in a very few moments Leslie reappeared to take us to the mainland. He just jogged along as the wind has aired up some causing a bit of chop and the temperature had dropped with the feeling of rain not too far off. Lots of time to stop for errands and then make my hair appointment before putting on supper. Stiff and sore after tall the hiking on the cobble beach and across the uneven ground but certainly glad we did this.

Friday morning was an 'up and off early' day as I took my car for servicing - managed to put 7000 km on it in the eight weeks I was home. Not too shabby. Also had the undercoating done so that took a bit longer. First I stopped at Bistro 138 and had breakfast, read the paper and caught up on the local news, shopped locally (while visiting) and then back to the garage to pick up a loaner car and head out to get some groceries, a stop at Frenchy's and then home to enjoy the clean house which is a spiritual event every Friday. Ahhh. Had a nice visit from my mother-in-law and her husband where she was catching up with what all her grandchildren are up too. Nice to have such positive news to relay. It occurred to me at the physio clinic when I was listing off their accomplishments to the high school English teacher that they had all had how very lucky we are to have such bright, hard working offspring. Friday evening we decided to get serious about booking the flights for the Griswald's vacation to Mexico for March Break and found the prices had risen and there was even less selection. After some bumps in the online booking - where Air Canada put the price of their leg of the journey up $50 while we were attempting to book it - we managed with the help of the call centre to get the tickets confirmed. Talk of driving to Portland, AmTrak to Boston and the flight to Cancun from there which can all be arranged a bit later as it's the NS March Break which was giving us the hassle. The western girls won't have the same problems as it's not a school break there either. 

Today was the day where the procrastination of "I'll do that tomorrow" couldn't be allowed and so this morning I packed for my northern adventure. I have left some of my northern winter gear with one of the western daughters so at least don't have to schlep it all across Canada with me, but will pick it up Monday night. I charged all the electronics, printed the e-ticket, grocery list, map to prove my mileage and got my last minute gear together. The afternoon brought the last chance (until November) to catch a few rays on the deck, walk the dog, cancel the newspaper and activate my Qiniq (northern internet) account and then prepare for the surf and turf BBQ we had this evening for about a dozen. The shore captain outdid himself with halibut and pork ribs, we had broccoli salad, tossed salad, cheese bread sticks, roasted Greek potatoes and for dessert a guest brought lemon, blueberry cake with lemoncello frosting, peach crisp with whipped cream and fruit salad. Good friends, good food, good conversation. 

The shore captain is tucked in (for the second time after the phone has woken him) for the night as he'll be up at 4 a.m. to unload boats. I am looking forward to the last sleep in my own bed for 54 days as I'm heading in to store the car tomorrow, supper with the teacher daughter and then a stay at the hotel near the airport.

And when it comes to $10 more and not have to hassle with the shuttle at 6 a.m. but rather walk the few steps to the terminal...convenience won out. That'll be the story for the next morning. The next news will likely be from 69 degrees north.