The eggnog has arrived via the COOP and so we were able to celebrate the holidays. No eggnog, no Christmas… that was the rule. We distributed some to the elders in the hampers we made up and had some for a Christmas tea we hosted but the leftover cartons came to stay in our fridge. Ahhhh. Well, not to stay for too long. My roommate couldn't believe how much eggnog I could drink. "A big glass?" she asked, eyeing the tumbler I filled, as if there was a fluid allowance for eggnog consumption.
I had been waging an ongoing battle with IT to reset the password on the NIC (nurse in charge) email account. For two days the local (as in Inuvik an hour flight away) tech with a thick African colonial accent, knocked himself out trying to solve the problem. The Yellowknife techs kept assuring him (and me) that the problem was resolved and it was not. Finally, the local tech provided a workaround in the form of their administrative password so that I could actually access the emails - not a permanent solution as hardly secure - at least I was able to see if the boss had sent any last minute instructions before 'mandatory days' defined as paid time off and all the offices shut down over the holidays. When I found the 'ticket' to report the problem to IT and another message from Yellowknife IT stating the problem was resolved, you can imagine I was not exactly pleased. I hit reply on the 'resolved' message and said "do NOT close this ticket, the problem is NOT resolved, I am NOT able to change the password" and muttered to myself. Later that afternoon I received a phone call from IT in Yellowknife who said and I quote "I am calling to ask how you could say the problem isn't fixed if you can send a reply from that email account?" Sort of like wearing a really catchy costume to get picked as a contestant from the audience of The Price is Right - you have to do something to get IT attention if you want help. I explained the 'this account isn't secure if I can't change the password' and after quite a bit of fiddling the tech managed to reset the password. Surprise - it hadn't been correctly rest as the poor local tech had been saying for days. I think it takes a certain kind of arrogance to be in IT and my most recent contact didn't disprove my theory.
Wednesday the ingredients for the hampers arrived and we assembled the boxes - sugar, coffee, tea, coffee mate, butter, cheese, crackers, eggnog and oranges, adding pork chops and chicken so kindly donated by the RCMP officer who had won them at the meat pack bingo. About $150 each in total when filled so a nice gift. My coworker dragged the heavy boxes to the vehicle, picked up the clerk as navigator and dragged the boxes to each of those over age 60 who we'd listed. I managed to escape the grocery delivery with visits but had to listen to the snarling from the colleague about sore ankles from all the up and down stairs.
|Pere Noel and his elf|
We enjoyed the Christmas feast (for which I cooked a ham - becoming known as the ham nurse) in the school gym which was nicely decorated as the North Pole (clearly the closest I've been to Santa over the holidays yet) . The children were wearing their dressiest finery and Santa (Pere Noel Pierre) and his elf Mikey (RCMP filling in) patiently held babies for photo ops and handed out gifts. Apparently a young fellow said to Mike "you're a pretty big elf on the shelf". There were lovely presents from the Community Corp (which incidentally gives every beneficiary a ham, turkey and all the fixins for Christmas dinner) some gift examples were a tea set and an easy bake oven, cat onesies, Elsa dolls, hot wheels set. And a large shipment of gifts from Fort Providence Secret Santa who sent over jewelry, makeup, trinkets and more to each child in the community.
Christmas Eve morning we hosted a Christmas tea for which I baked war cake. Was a real blast from the past for the roommie and me as we remembered our mothers making this for us as kids. We entertained, chatted and saw patients as the morning passed. I suited up and headed to the Post Office as there was a freight plane the morning of the 24th - talk about a Santa delivery. I waited on the bench with others while some sat on the steps leading up the post office while the clerk sorted the packages, cards and letters. I was rewarded with a big box the NIC had sent in to us. My last day of work was the 24th and I was most pleased to answer the phone call from the Regional Director at 2 pm. telling us that if all was quiet we should close up shop. Yes ma'am. Don't have to tell us twice. We headed upstairs, decorated the tree which the roommie had brought in her suitcase and chilled out. After supper the phone rang but no one called the cell as instructed for emergencies, then a few minutes later the videophone rang and my colleague, who was on call. almost ate it off the wall "who is wanting to be seen now that we're closed?" But when she looked in the screen it was filled with Mikey the Elf's face as he and Santa Pierre had heard that we were good girls (apparently the standards are lower nearer the North Pole) and they were delivering a sock to us as well as each child in the community. What a giggle we had. We spent the evening watching half of a recorded Aussie series A Place to Call Home - season 3 and finally stopped ourselves at midnight and crawled into bed.
Spent a wonderful Christmas Day as I slept in until 11 am (the roommie was going to check to see if I had a pulse) then made us pancakes for breakfast. My roommate (who had most
recently been home) had shopped for me and gifted me with slipper socks, mugs and a great polar bear bag. I gave her a daily calendar with info from the 60s, 70s and 80s which we reminisced with for a great giggle as well as Tide to Go - which is necessary for travel life. Didn't get out of my Christmas pjs and finished off the series we'd begun by 3:30 pm., just in time to make cranberry pudding which I'd promised the clerk as a NS cultural exchange for Christmas supper. The colleague started the vehicle, I changed my clothes and we dragged the gifts for the clerk and her husband to the car, I sat with the box containing warm from the oven dessert we and made our way to their cozy home. As I climbed from the SUV carefully holding the cardboard box my feet slipped and half of me disappeared under the edge of the vehicle. Flat on the crunchy snow I was trying to figure out if I'd broken anything and my chauffeur was anxiously questioning "are you okay, did you hurt anything?" as she rounded the front of the vehicle. Later she acknowledged that she had in her mind (as any good nurse would) called the RCMP to help get me on a spinal board and was arranging the medevac before she passed the headlights. My main concern was for the dessert which I couldn't see in the dark and I was attempting to see if it had been ejected from the box which was flattened with only one corner intact. "No, just the pan lid flipped" she assured me, "here I'm picking up the cell phone (I was on call) and your camera" When she (we) realized that I was fine, just bruised and shaken up we became quite giddy. When I made it to the door with opaque frosted spectacles and told the clerk's husband "I could've broken my hip at my age" he just shook his head. We had a full traditional supper - turkey, ham and all the trimmings which included smoked char and musk ox pepperoni made by the host. Ahhh
|Santa found me|
Boxing Day was a sedate stay in the pyjamas kind of day as well. So thankful to have four days off before I travel. My partner was again on call as we alternate every other day when there are two of us. Again the videophone rang and she answered it saying "can I help you?" to be told that the visitor was requesting condoms. "That's not an emergency but I'm going to come down and give you some because I don't want to deal with the results of not giving you any a month from now". Apparently she gave the caller 20 and told him to share. Clearly using her critical thinking skills on that one.
We were to have attended the Hamlet Ball today having been invited by the SAO but….the prizes for the games didn't arrive (even though they were ordered on November 25th) so the event will be held in early January….after my departure. Apparently it's a dressy affair and I certainly don't have anything with sparkles on it with me this time. Will have to pack appropriately the next time. I took a short walk today - not really much fun at -40c in the dark but got to get the legs working again for walking at home.
Some FB chats with family members allowed me to learn that the boy captain had gifted his girlfriend a lovely necklace and earrings (and they match she said) of rose and white gold. "I haven't taken it off" she shared, "he had really good taste". I reminded her how fussy he'd been to have the taps match the light fixtures with the reno they did and she agreed that she hadn't cared. Sounded familiar to me. The apple doesn't fall from that tree with him and his father. Apparently a good day was spent by those at home trying not to be too festive until I get there to celebrate Christmas on New Years.
I have been packing a very few things I'm taking home - fastening two duffle bags together as one is empty and the other only partially full plus an empty action packer - just can't face trying to take both so will gift one to the clerk for storage. Finishing up my laundry and hanging up uniforms in the closet to await my mid February arrival. Putting away a few personal things and for the most part just walking away from the apartment which is the best part of being a jobshare employee and returning to the same community each time. So the trek begins tomorrow and although it's windy tonight the forecast is decent flying weather or as my roommie says "not a blizzard, Aklak Air flies in anything else". Upon discussion we decided that a two day commute is acceptable but when you're on your third day of travel, you just want to be home. I told my Dr. that I could get home from Thailand quicker than from here and he said "you chose this" to which I explained that I'm not whining just illustrating what a huge country we live in that I can travel for three days and not use my passport. Next posting south and east of here…..
Although it's a bit depressing to think of climate change there are major changes which are obvious here in the arctic and in fact this community has been thoroughly studied for some decades by various researches. The following link to National Geographic relates to an article about a Norwegian team but the concept is the same:
Lots of winter left here, don't let the global warning fool you.