Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hallowe'en & the hooligans are out in the House

The goblins are out in force in the House of Commons today. The speaker looks a little frustrated.

Its been a while since I wrote anything here - lots of things have happened. We are scrambling to get ready to leave for Mexico. Today I pointed out to Marilyn that 5 weeks from tonight we should be sleeping in Mi Casa campground in Nogales.

Last week I got all the airbags in the bus changed. It had been leaking somewhere for over a year now. A few weeks ago we had it in Saskatoon & I got the STC shop to diagnose the leak. It was in the two front airbags on the driver's side and it seemed to me that, if they were both leaking then the rest probably weren't far behind. I hired a tire shop in town to change the bags but in hindsight I could probably have done it myself. There's a lot of these heavy duty mechanic jobs that I am nervous to tackle for the first time but, once I've seen it done, I wouldn't hesitate to do it the next time. In this case we changed the shocks at the same time but the tire shop didn't want to tackle two of them. I ended up changing them myself with remarkably little incident (translation: I didn't lose much bark off my hands in the process!)

Marilyn is hurrying to finish up the projects that she needs to have completed before we leave and I am doing likewise. I have 3 farm business assessments on the go that have to be completed before we leave. I also have a 4th one on the go but it can be completed in February so I intend to do the writing while we are away. And yesterday I landed about a week's worth from CAAR that doesn't need to be done until we are on the road and can be sent back electronically so it is starting to come together. I'd still like to find about another 2 weeks worth of work that can be done on the road.

At the same time I have a list of must-do projects on the bus to get it ready for more full-time occupancy. We put a multi-function printer in the bar cabinet this fall and wired that area with network connections but it still needs some printer cabling to give us easier access to the printer & I want to put some shelves under the printer for paper storage. This weekend I am going to put some drawers under the foot of the bed to facilitate easier access to that space. I'm also overdue for an oil change on the generator and I need to get all the yard equipment put away for the winter before it decides to snow here.

Last Saturday we left really early in the morning for Medicine Hat, watched Marlan win a football game that started at noon, went to his windup banquet that evening and then drove home again, arriving back here almost exactly 24 hours after we had left. I'd like to get down to Saskatoon to watch another Huskies game but the way they are playing they may be done playing in Saskatoon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A well written throne speech

I watched Michaele read the throne speech last night with a couple of thoughts running through my mind. First I had to acknowledge that I was wrong about this GG. When Martin appointed her I thought he was pandering to the feminist and immigrant communities. He probably was but, in spite of himself, he appointed someone who has acquitted herself admirably well. She holds office in an anachronism, she shouldn't be there at all and she appears smart enough to know that. And she may look better than she really is by virtue of being compared most immediately to the abject failure that preceded her. Despite all those qualifications I believe she is doing us proud as Canadians - if we must have a GG then Michaele Jean embodies the qualities that the GG should have.

Harper, despite being painted early as an idealogue who would never compromise, wouldn't be able to restrain his rogue members, would be too rigid to survive in a minority, etc., etc, has confounded them all. Here he is, well into his second year of a minority government with his official opposition in complete disarry, implementing his common sense agenda in a fair and remarkably flexible manner. He just replied to Jack Layton in the house. Layton was quivering in Diefenbakkian rage to emphasize how the NDP could NEVER support this budget because it ignored so and so and so and so ad nauseum. When he finally wound down Harper stood up and simply said "If the NDP hadn't announced two weeks ago that they would oppose the throne speech then they might have actually listened to it and decided to support it."

Our country is in good hands for a change.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Back in Nipawin

We got home around noon on Sunday. I had an FBA meeting Saturday night just outside Naicam. That got cut a little short when there was a major power outage in the Naicam area. We could probably have come home Saturday but it was nice not rushing to get home. Sunday morning it was so foggy we could hardly see across the road so we dawdled around for a while but it didn't look like the fog was going to lift. Finally we set out a little before 10:00 and took our time until the fog finally lifted somewhere before Melfort.

Now we have the bus emptied out, the water drained, carpet shampooed and scotchguarded. I am trying to find someone to change out the airbags on it before I put it away for winter. It has a leak that has been steadily getting worse for the past year. I couldn't find it so I took it to STC in Saskatoon and they finally found that both the front drivers' side bags are leaking. They didn't have the bags in stock so they couldn't change them & I was just as happy that they couldn't do the work. I should be able to find someone local who can do the work for 2/3 of what STC would think it was worth.

RJ & I had a plan all worked out to go to Medicine Hat together to watch one of Marlan's games but that fell apart when we discovered we were going on the wrong day. I'm still going to go watch the game but RJ won't be able to come with me.

We're counting down the days until Karla leaves now. It doesn't seem like 6 months ago that she arrived. A lot of things have happened since then - the time has flown by.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

October in Regina

We agreed yesterday that October in Regina is a bad combination. It will be a few years before we can organize our lives so that we don't have to spend October in Saskatchewan at all but it is definitely a goal worth pursuing.

Father's condition seems to have stabilized but at a much lower level than he was at as recently as a month ago. We stopped in here at the start of the Mexican connection visit to Banff. The first night we were here father took Carlos-Juan and I downstairs in search of their humidifier. He used his walker but he was quite mobile and pretty animated. Now he struggles to get around in his wheelchair. And that is in the space of 2-1/2 weeks. Its a good thing none of us know what the future brings - the good or the bad would be more than we could handle if we knew it was coming.

We will leave here Saturday in the early afternoon. I have a CFBAS client to meet with at Naicam. We'll probably spend Sat. night somewhere in or around Naicam because that meeting will likely go late. Then we'll go the rest of the way home. Its probably time to put the bus away for the winter. I have some work that I need to get done on it - new air bags for sure - but I think its time to do the winterizing thing. Its next big trip will be destination Mexico.

The satellite connection has worked really well. I'm glad we had a chance to test it while it was still easy to phone support but I have only had to do that twice and the 2nd time I shouldn't have phoned. I've got a cable that intermittently gives problems. I think it just has the centre core cut a little too short on one end so that if it isn't tightened up absolutely tight then it doesn't make connections. We have to do something with the LNB for the TV signal too. It uses the same dish but it is offset because it is trying to bounce off the dish to a different satellite. I think that is likely a bit of a bodge that will require some fine tuning at each setup to make sure we have a good signal. Right now I don't have any convenient way to adjust the bracket. In fact the bracket is held on with two bungie cords and a large piece of cardboard in order to get the right angle now. Its probably lost the cardboard in the rain today. That will have to be improved but it isn't really a high priority.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

P.A. Again

We're going round in circles - back in P.A. for a couple of days so Marilyn can have some meetings & so I can get the boat home & winterized. We came up from Saskatoon through Wakaw & there is a lot of crop still out once you get north of Wakaw. There were a few combines going today but not much dust flying so it must still be pretty tough.

Tomorrow I'm going to take Karla back to Nipawin and put the boat away for the winter. We had it in the water at Medicine Hat. Karla and Marlan were brave enough to go into 48 degree water but I was not. I like to change the oil in the fall, run some antifreeze through the block and put fuel stabilizer in it before I tuck it away for the winter so I will get that done tomorrow. Once I get back here Marilyn & I are going to move to Buffalo Lookout east of Regina for a week or so.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Camp Canitz

We arrived back in Saskatoon yesterday. The night before we were in Kenaston. We thought the campground there had full services - turns out they have only power and they turn the power off on Oct. 1, which just happened to be the day we arrived. So there we were sitting in the bus with the generator running when CJ came in to tell us that there were "dos viejos" who wanted to talk to us. Roughly translated that means 2 oldtimers, so Marilyn went out to see what was happening. When she came back in she said that it was the camp attendants, she had asked if they could leave the power on for one more day and they had agreed but they needed to flip some breakers until they figured out which one we were on. So I went over to the shack to thank them and it turned out the "2 viejos" were Ray and Shirley (can't remember the last name) who used to combine for Grandpa. I wouldn't have recognized them and the last time they saw me I was probably 13 or 14 but we had a good visit.

Later that evening we went out to Marvin & Marilyn's where we met up with Paula who took us over to their place to see the new kittens, pat Shae-Lynne's 4H heifer and ride Marvin's horse. Then we went back to Marvin's for coffee. Brad & Tammy showed up with their two kids because they knew we were in the area. We all had a great visit - I think the Mexican connection was a bit bored but the rest of us were enjoying ourselves.

We tried to organize breakfast with Ron and Norma but that didn't work out so Karla ended up taking her parents shopping while Marilyn & I got set up in Blaine & Jacquie's yard. We had supper with Blaine & Jacquie - RJ showed up after football so CJ & Adriana got to meet him.

This morning I took the bus to the STC garage for some diagnostic work. I've had an air leak that has been getting a little worse for the last year but I haven't been able to find it. They found it this morning but didn't have the parts to fix it. However, now that I know what it is it won't be that big a deal to get it fixed. Then I met up with Marilyn, Karla and her parents and we put them on the plane to Calgary. We've been waiting anxiously all day - hoping that we don't hear from them until about 8:00 or 9:00 tonight. Anything earlier than that will mean a problem.