Friday, October 31, 2008

Went over to the dark side

I finally broke down and joined the crackberry addict group. And I can see why they are addicted - this thing is GOOD. My last "smart"phone was a Motorola Q and what a mournful excuse for a phone/PDA that thing was. I bought the Q because I thought Blackberries were ostentatious and meant for people who wanted to advertise how trendy they were. In order to uphold that dubious principle I got 2 years of misery trying to make the Q function. It was an OK phone, when it was working. Lately it had developed a habit of randomly shutting itself off. Sometimes it would go a whole week without one random shutdown and other days it would shut itself off four or five times in an afternoon.

I'd been trying to talk myself into spending the money on a new phone for several months and finally broke down and did it this morning. I actually tried to do it last night but ran into such a case of terminal stupidity that I just couldn't go through with it. This morning I found a really helpful pirate (Hallowe'en today) in the Telus booth and a very knowledgeable young man in the Sasktel Jump.Ca store. Much as I would have liked to ditch Sasktel they ended up being the most economical solution so that is where I stayed. Apparently now I can take my phone number with me if I decide to switch to some other carrier so it is a lot more realistic to switch.

I think we are finally going to get back to Nipawin tomorrow night. We have both pretty well wrapped up all that we need to do in Saskatoon so there is no reason to stay here any longer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just me and George

Well Marilyn is in McArthur River. I couldn't even find it on a map but I finally located something on some of my Garmin maps. Cameco must be worried that I might be a terrorist because they sure don't have much helpful information on their website about where the mines are actually located. Its a long ways away from Saskatoon - that's for sure. Marilyn said it was a 2-1/2 hour flight.

It sounds like they have pretty decent accomodations and a good dining room. She is in a room that two other women share on a week in - week out basis. For some reason neither of them is there this weekend so she gets their room, complete with their TV and all the pictures of their kids.

George is such a fair weather friend. He's all cuddly with me now that Marilyn isn't here - and that will continue for a few days after she comes back but eventually he will revert to being her mama's boy. For the weekend though he and I will be close buddies.

We're parked on the Flying J parking lot on the north side of Saskatoon - the wifi at the Husky appears to be permanently down so I came back here after I picked up the trucklet today. Tomorrow the Nipawin Exhibition Association is hosting some kind of a hoedown at the Western Canada Fairs convention and they have invited all the old warhorses to attend along with the current board so I will go downtown for that and leave Georgie alone overnight.

When we arrived at the Flying J on Wednesday night the place was dark. We soon discovered that they had just finished extinguishing a fire in the dining room. I guess a fire at a gas station is a pretty major event - everything was shut down but they were still letting trucks in and out of the parking lot. When we pulled in there was truck leaving complete with a large trucker broad who was frantically waving "No" at us. I'm not sure what she thought we were going to do at that point - likely she didn't think that much. Later in the evening they turned the lights back on and Marilyn went in to buy some milk. She got talking to the manager who told her that they had just passed their first franchise inspection in the morning and then lit the kitchen on fire in the afternoon. Some days are like that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grande Prairie in the rear view mirror

I had a meeting with the management team at Neufeld's this afternoon and then about 5:00 we left town. We would have stopped sooner but couldn't find any place that appealed to us so we ended up at a Husky truck stop on the west side of Edmonton. There's a LOT of trucks in here tonight. We're sandwiched in between a load of Super B load of pipe and a flatdeck of mixed freight. Apparently we passed a hotel on the way off the highway - I didn't notice but Marilyn did. We are stealing their internet now to check our email and post this.

And now its time for bed. Tomorrow - Saskatoon and Thursday Marilyn goes nuclear.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The morning after

We were just talking about how confusing it must have been for Steffie Ding Dong when he watched the newcasts today. All through the election the media was so careful not to hurt his delicate feelings while they pretended to take his nonsense view of the world seriously. But this morning the gloves came off and they all appeared in a panic to say what any sane person has to have known since he won the Liberal leadership. Namely that he isn't and never will be prime minister material and that he constantly demonstrates that fact in a multitude of ways.

And how about that Harper guy? Remember him? He's the conservative idealogue with a radical right wing agenda that would prevent him from ever reaching a compromise consensus with enough right of centre parliamentarians to ever hold power. What a difference four years makes.

Yesterday was a good day for Canada. The only thing that would have made it better is if a few less bloc-heads had voted the way they did.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grande Prairie

We arrived up here Thursday afternoon. After a bit of an ordeal locating the campground we got moved in. Then we had a bit of an incident involving the sewer hose and had to get the camp host to come turn the water on but eventually we got settled. Yesterday I spent the day at Neufeld's getting oriented and figuring out what the project up here really is.

Today we have spent a lazy day. I did some work in the morning and Marilyn's friend Lorraine came for coffee. This afternoon we are cooking a Thanksgiving turkey. Ken is bringing a friend for supper. Tomorrow Marilyn is going to Grande Cache with Lorraine to visit Donna. I'll get a full day of work in on some ammonia code of practice stuff.

We're in a huge trailer park - probably 200 sites or more. And its open year round. It must be a real bear here in the winter but they stay open all year. Some of the rigs already have rigid pink insulation strapped to the outside of their slideouts. I can't imagine what it would take to heat an RV with propane at -40 but I guess accomodations are at that much of a premium up here. We have to leave our water hose unhooked at night. We can fill our tanks during the day but they want all the hoses unhooked at night so their plumbing doesn't freeze.

I think we'll probably be up here for close to 2 weeks. Marilyn has to fly out of Saskatoon on the 23rd to McArthur River. She has landed a project with Cameco and has to go to the mine to get oriented. I wonder if she will glow in the dark when she comes back. After that we'll probably end up back in Nipawin. I've got a meeting in Saskatoon at the end of the month but eventually it is going to get cold enough that we will want to have a real roof over our heads again.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Saskatoon and heading north

We're back in Saskatoon for a few days regrouping for a trip to Grande Prairie. I've got some work to do up there and Marilyn has a girl friend that she hasn't seen for years so we're headed north at the wrong time of the year. You'd never know winter was coming by the weather we've had for the last week but I don't expect it to hold as we head north. It should be pretty travelling up there this time of year though. We've got friends at Grand Cache as well so we'll try to work in a visit there but that may get tricky because Marilyn has a contract with a mining company that she just landed. We have to be back here by the 23rd so she can fly into the mine for the weekend. By the time she gets back from the mine it will definitely be time to get back to Nipawin.

Anne got settled back into Hillcrest and staged a remarkable recovery. It was hard for Marilyn to persuade her to leave the hospital. Once she was home she exclaimed about how much better she felt. I think the staff at the hospital were pretty amazed at her resilience.

While Marilyn was getting Anne settled in I spent the week driving back and forth to Saskatoon. I was the lunch speaker at a CAFA meeting on Tuesday and the trainer for a Nurse Tank Safety course on Thursday. I ended up driving to Saskatoon on Wednesday as well because I thought the NTSCC course was Wednesday rather than Thursday but that's a whole other matter. Today when we were driving in with the bus that made the 4th time this week I had made the trip.

On Wednesday I phoned the returning officer to see how we could go about voting. I don't really think that riding is in any danger but I said to Marilyn that we would feel pretty stupid if the idiot Val Mushinski got in by one vote. The returning officer said we could come vote right away. I'm not sure exactly what we voted in - it wasn't the advance poll but it was clearly a poll in advance of election day. They didn't even have printed ballots - we had to write Randy's name in but it's done now. So it was hard to get very excited about watching the debates. We caught the end of the English debate - just long enough so I could appreciate Grant Devine's comments this morning. "Like a pack of four coyotes worrying the old bull on the ranch." Yapping coyotes seems like a great metaphor for that pack of fools.

Marilyn is having fun playing with her new software tonight. She had Dragon Naturally Speaking on her desktop in Nipawin but for some reason couldn't install it on her new laptop. I think the desktop was likely W2K & the laptop is XP so that is likely the reason. Whatever the reason she ordered the software and had it shipped to her here in Saskatoon. We picked it up this afternoon and now she is teaching it to understand her voice. Once she gets it trained it will transcribe her words as well as let her run other software by voice commands.

We're camped at 16 West on the Yellowhead highway just north of the Saskatoon airport. As soon as we got here Georgie and I went for a really long walk all the way around the perimeter of the campground. He always hates leaving for a walk but he is getting to where he really enjoys the walk once it gets going.