Sunday, June 4, 2017

Packing again, or is that still?

So, the final update in the month long rotation and I have to has gone by really quickly. The forecast for the next few days is good, with the scheduled departure on Tuesday looking promising. I smile when I see the overnight forecast of sunny after midnight up here..... We've been having a problem with cancelled flights because of the unsettled spring weather. With the open water as the sea ice melts, there is more moisture in the air and thus ice fog, rain, snow, hail, name it, we've had it the past while. Once over to the mainland, it's usually pretty smooth traveling so as long as the flight makes it in. Been a pain trying to get samples out to the lab within the window of opportunity for testing or medication over from the pharmacy.

The hunter accompanying me was a bit disappointed by the sudden disappearance of the snow geese but a combination of weather factors last week (fog, easterly winds, earlier spring) seem to be the culprit. The locals are disappointed as well of course. There were less eggs collected this season because it was too difficult to get 'up north' on the island to Egg River and there were multiple snowmobiles stuck in the rivers on return trips last weekend - videos of folks standing in waist high water on the seats, just handlebars sticking out of the ice etc. So the only available eggs were a few deposited around Middle Lake and the arctic foxes were waiting. Lots more folks in the community this week, back from the big white tents out on the land, so a bit more on the go with work.

I've been finishing up some craft projects this rotation and have (finally) managed to complete my sealskin slippers with beaver trim. Only two years in the making. They're much too warm for 'down
south' so will go into the storage box here. I've been crocheting a small throw, made a hat and even created a cover for the plant pot in the livingroom as the stash busting continues. Managed to read a couple of books too - one I found in the bookcase entitled Housecalls by Dogsled, written by a community health nurse in Fort MacPherson (another community here in the Beauford Delta region) in the 1960s. At present I'm reading an e-book about Jonathon Letterman who was in charge of battlefield medicine during the Civil War - gruesome conflict that it was - and the changes he made with ambulances, hospitals in barns at the edges of battle, interesting stuff....well at least to a nurse. 

Today was our 40th anniversary, quite a milestone by any measure, especially in today's disposable relationship climate. One thing I can say with certainty is....these four decades sure haven't been boring! It's become unusual that we spend our anniversaries together as I've been 'working away' the past few years, so today was a bonus.

I am on call today and spent the afternoon working. As the physician on call for the region said when I finally reached him after being on hold for a while "why is everyone doing this today? it's a beautiful afternoon, they should be out on the land". Couldn't agree more I told him, if they put me in a position to do an EKG then you know I'm going to fax it to you, even if it's normal. Add in another call with family drama and the double time paid on Sunday becomes even more relevant. I'm making plans to just work ten weeks of the year - for a number of reasons - the main one being that after all the life changing events of the past year....I want to do more of things I enjoy such as travel, enjoy our oceanfront home, hang out with friends, or just do nothing. Other reasons include that with my (small) pensions and some dividends drawn (mostly by the shore captain) from the company, anything over ten weeks salary will be paid back in income tax. I'm not interested in northern volunteering. Had a discussion with my manager and expressed interest in a couple of five week casual rotations spring and fall (the life partner will be otherwise occupied so gave his blessing) which she didn't discount so I'm looking at working my next rotation August/September and calling it a year. As I explained, I didn't leave on my own terms...I had to come back to prove to myself I could still do it (I did so) that I wanted to (I most certainly would miss it if I never returned) and figure out how it was going to play out in the longer term.

We were out for a while last evening fishing for arctic cod on the edge of the ice crack just in front of us, but no luck. And yes we were careful to only go along the skidoo tracks...yep, there are still snowmobiles out on the sea ice, and keep a look out for polar bears. There have been a few small cod caught recently and the seals like to sun themselves on the ice next to the edge, so there are surely fish there. Lots of fishing on the floe edge over in Nunavut, it's actually a popular spring excursion for fishermen. It's getting to be a challenge to get back to the lakes as there's too much ice/snow for ATVs and too little snow for skidoos -  kind of a switchover season until it's time to get out in the boats. Spring this year came the fastest that anyone here (even the elders) remembers and caught the locals off guard. Climate change is so dramatic here near the north pole.

So, time to get ready for my remaining two days of clinic. I have most of my things packed as I'm bringing home excess, storing and have gifted some. Nice to have the man servant to do laundry of bedclothes and towels on the final day versus chasing the washer/dryer during work hours. Today I tidied a bit as my contribution to the apartment. Since we're leaving the job share partner here, it's not the more thorough exit cleaning. We've been making jokes about our polygamous situation with the two sister wives, especially as I made us 'family breakfast' of bacon and fruit filled pancakes this morning, but I suspect she'll enjoy the solitude which comes with our departure. An update from much further south of here...I promise.