Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Home stretch

To quote my job share partner….I am on my way home to replenish my emotional and physical stock. As I type this in the refurbished Terminal 3 of Pearson airport, I am awaiting my final flight of the three day odyssey home making the total of 14 take offs and landings. The cab for airport pickup has been booked, my trusty vehicle is in my nursing classmate's yard awaiting me and the weather forecast has changed from periods of rain to nice day. What more could you ask for? Good thing I checked my tickets last night as I had an early morning flight at 7 am and will be arriving in earlier than expected. Bonus

I have met interesting people along the way including a sea ice depth researcher who has a PhD. Made me smile as I have collected up some local knowledge which he was unaware of. He and I exchanged northern info from Inuvik to Yellowknife and it made the flight pass quickly. I fondly recalled a nurse I worked with (who cares deeply for northern folks) stating…well, you're not going to make them PhDs but they are good people.

I had another smile when I noticed the FB post last week of a daughter's classmate who is a physician now…..Mom: Do you have any questions for the doctor before we go? Kid: Mmm... Do you have any pets? I replied that I hoped he'd disclosed he has a cat, as disclosures of conflict of interest are always noted when Drs publish or speak at conferences.

The shore captain has already related the story of his big orange crew cab 4wheel drive truck mishap…Apparently while on his way home to head to the city and taking the oldest for an interview with the Navy (where she was told she was qualified - which we already knew, but is nice to hear from those who want you, to view the house the baby daughter had recently bought and moved in to, and celebrate the 30th birthday of the teacher daughter….he was in the wrong place. A few km from home he happened upon the traffic cones making one lane and a small bucket truck checking lines and stopped, then noticed the traffic control half ton truck stopped in the road. He heard a beep….beep….beep and after a few seconds it registered….oh no, he's backing up. He jammed the gearshift back down towards reverse but only made it as far as neutral before the crunch, sorrowfully telling me that a few years ago with quicker reflexes he might've made it to reverse. I assured him that even neutral would have allowed the truck to move when impacted and likely prevented whiplash, deployment of airbags and even more damage. The entire front of his truck was pushed backwards, but thankfully the radiator was spared so it was drivable and didn't seem to be 'out of line'. The security dudes were quickly out of the truck and apologetic as the driver had just dropped the truck into reverse and hit the gas without even checking his mirror. Needless to say he was late (a not uncommon state for the shore captain) for his city trip.

Have had a good chat with the daughter vacationing in Cuba and a Cuban friend as well as a paramedic buddy who is following behind me as he leaves Alberta on his trek home. The layover has slipped by and our fully sold out flight is boarding after some threats to check some bags…..

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Turkey in the porch so I cooked it

The final week of gainful employment for a while and there is a long to-do list but…I am ignoring it. That is until the weekend when I will furiously clean up the apartment and bake some scones for my job share partner's arrival next Monday. It continues to amaze me that eight weeks can pass so quickly. I've done a bit of reading, a couple of courses, watched some movies, did some crocheting and a bit (very little bit) of writing…nothing much to show for my two months. Have ordered a set of tunisian crochet hooks as that's on my to learn list and a bug jacket because the next return will be 'bug season'.

Last week we had problems with flights, which in turn affects just about everything in a fly in community. We usually have three flights per week but Monday all planes were grounded due to a volcanic eruption in Alaska which sent a stream of ash 37,000 ft into the air which was carried by the winds across the arctic. Tuesday there was a make up flight sent in for people and freight but since we'd had no warning were unable to send anything out when the drugstore order appeared mid morning. Thursday came, I collected up the specimens, called folks in to have blood drawn and filled two lab boxes. We called the COOP before lunch for pick up and when 4 pm rolled around realized the plane was likely on the ground and no pickup. Call to the COOP, they were up at the airport and no one was answering the phone. Calls made all around the community and finally the clerk convinced her brother in law to drop by and provide courier service to the airport for us. That was too close for me because if the specimens had missed the flight I would've had to redraw them as the next flight on Monday would've made them too old. When the freight was delivered I called the COOP employee on missing the pick up - he looked alarmed but was speechless. Finally recovering his tongue he told me the COOP manager was out in the truck. Aha, sacrificed you did they? Out to the steps and the manager and his buddy are chatting away in the waiting truck until…I point at them and they put the window down. I ask why the lab box wasn't picked up and….they make the poor decision of accusing me of not calling for pickup. I firmly state the clerk did and I witnessed it, they look at it each other nervously. They deny again and ask who took the call. I name the young clerk and take a step towards them across the deck which causes them to look worried and start putting the window up. At this point the manager says that only the two of them (Dumb and Dumber I think to myself) are to be the one notified of lab boxes. I point and say….you have used up your one chance with me, it best not happen again. Need I add that the lab box was picked up on time and delivered to the plane today?

Speaking of the COOP I suited up in my winter gear braving the -45c temperature on Saturday as I sought milk and eggs. Of course after I shuffled my way across the snow, there was none. There was however key lime greek yogurt , huge sweet oranges and asian salad mix…go figure. I think I know what those who have a retinal detachment go through as my sunglasses (must wear with the glare off the white stuff) frosted up to the point I could only see out of the upper left corner of my left eye by the time I reached the steps. When you can feel the cold through the sleeve of your Expedition weight Canada Goose parka and the strip of your forehead exposed beneath the pang hat and hood fur is burning/freezing….it's cold! The hours of sunlight however are increasing and it's quite light at 11 pm still. 

This particular rotation has been very busy. As I was compiling the end of month report today for the manager and inserting the stats I realized that the visit numbers were double a slower month in say May or June. A lot of those visits were in the off hours as well which makes for less down time. This was due in large part to the influenza outbreak across the north (and North America) this past month. Those who were immunized (myself included) although indignant at first to have caught the flu, realized we had a milder form when watching those who didn't have the flu shot. And of course I've been solo here for the past four weeks which meant no one to share  the workload with, deal with the non copers or back me up when unrealistic requests or inaccurate statements were made…I don't have my magic wand with me, sorry.  As is the case anywhere, the sicker ones were more polite and appreciative than those who demanded immediate attention and weren't as ill as the nurse. Will be nice to go to bed without the work cell phone. 

Ah, but not to worry as the weather is warming slightly and so ice fishing will be more enjoyable. The geese are beginning their migratory return and soon the hunt will be on. There was a fishing derby on over Easter weekend and many from the community headed out to their cabins (large white tents with wooden walls) near the lakes. The clerk had forgotten it was derby weekend, caught a nice char and they had it for supper. She was annoyed with herself until she found out her two sister in laws had entered their fish in the derby, filleted them for supper and left them outside the cabin, only to find that arctic foxes had made off with them. I had a mental image of the white foxes waiting outside the cabins until they heard snoring and then snatching the sushi. 

One morning as the janitor came to work she said "you need to put your turkey in the fridge" which left me with a puzzled look. I followed her out to the cool front entryway which is left open (only inside door locked in case someone needs shelter) and found….a thawed turkey sitting on the shelf. Good thing, she noticed it. I mused as to how and when a frozen turkey was placed there and she said "they were delivering them last night at 5:30pm". Apparently the Community Corp was using up their end of fiscal year money and delivered turkeys to all residents. I'm used to land claim beneficiaries receiving a full hamper of turkey, ham and fixins for Christmas but this doesn't usually extend to non locals. Roasted the turkey on the weekend and have been enjoying it in multiple ways since. Will likely have to freeze some of it as one person + large turkey means LOTS of leftovers. 

The weather in NS has been rather wintry with lots of snow, freezing rain, windy and ice the past few days. I am hoping that is all out of the way by the time I retrieve my little blue car without its snow tires and drive home. The shore captain has been chasing generators in power outages to keep his lobsters happy so has been kept busy with the storms. Now with his 4 wheel drive truck he is off to the city tomorrow to spend time with the three having an interview, one celebrating a 30th birthday and the other having bought a house. 

I have just finished up a free online course I've been doing through Future Learn called The Impact of Nursing which was excellent. Have done a few through this program and this is the best yet. The subject matter of course appealed - from the history to the future of nursing and I learned lots but most especially it was well designed, the right length and just made you want to keep on going. I have more time and better bandwidth for such pursuits 'up here' so it might be a while before I do another. 

My greatest annoyance of the day was a difference of opinion with Amazon over whether two day shipping is actually two day shipping. I was told by the customer service rep it was only "for like people in Ontario, not rural folks" when I complained that the Tuesday delivery date morphed quickly into Friday as soon as I paid. She offered to refund the extra shipping I paid. "The 7.98 isn't even worth my time which I've spent on hold". I explained that at my age I make lots of mistakes but attempt to avoid repeating them, and ordering from Amazon now fell into that category. Don't tick off a Nanak trying to order something for her grandson!

Time to crawl into bed with my ebook Crazy Rich Asians which is a pretty good read. I finished the autobiography of Martin Short which was enjoyable and of course funny. Last night was a 'monkey mind' night (as my job share partner calls them) where my mind raced with the change over to 'down south' living anticipated. If it's been a while since you've seen more than 75 people in one place…the larger plane out of Yellowknife can be quite an experience. Just sayin….