Sunday, November 30, 2008

Alice in Wonderland

So unless somebody blinks we're gonna have PM Ding Dong, Finance Minister Rae and Minister of Foreign Affairs Duceppe. Didn't we just have an election and return the Conservatives with more seats than they had before and the Libs with (substantially) less?

Steffie was able to sit on his duff through numerous confidence votes for close to three years but now he's all of a sudden discovered his backbone? This has everything to do with losing the public dole to support parties that can't raise their own money and nothing to do with the economy. If I wanted to support Elizabeth May's whacky ideas I'd send her a cheque. If Steffie wants to support her he should do so but he's gonna have serious difficulty going to the electorate after the honeymoon with Smilin' Jack is over. Remember all those times we told you that voting NDP was the same as voting Lib? Well its true!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In Regina again

We moved back to Regina on Thursday. The week was pretty much a blur but by Weds. evening the house was empty and clean. We still had some running around to do on Thursday morning but we got on the road before lunch. On Friday father and I went to Agribition. I doubt that he has missed an Agribition since they moved to Regina until last year. We wandered around the barns, found the Horseshoe E crew, had a good visit with Lane and Paula and made our way through most of the ag display area. We gave the slicer-dicers and vegomatic area a pass though.
My sister did most of the heavy lifting to get mother's affairs cleaned up during the week she was out here so our efforts are more in the order of housekeeping and support for father. We've still got a few things to clear up and mainly we're trying to assess how well father is coping.

We've got one more hectic work week coming up and then a week of hard travel before things start to let up. This week we have to be in Saskatoon on Wed for doctor's appointments and on Friday so I can speak to Merv Berscheid's commodity meeting. Saturday we are going to get as far as Brandon where we will stay in Mark & Donna's yard overnight. Then we'll pull a couple of really long days to get around the north end of the lakes. I've got a client to meet with in Ottawa before we get to Quebec for my training session on the 12th. After that we can relax a bit.

It turns out that Marilyn's sister & her husband are going to be in New York right about the time we are going by. Since they live in Tokyo its pretty much of a coincidence that we would both end up that close together at the same time. So we have booked into a campground with a view of the Statue of Liberty and we will spend a few days visiting with them before we move on down the coast. I'd like to stop in Washington, D.C. as well but we'll see how the time goes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We're done

We haven't left the yard but we are SO ready. When we signed the deal I thought it was flat impossible that we would be ready to leave by now but we are. Today we finished moving garbage out of the house and Marilyn shampooed some of the rugs. She is going to hire some Manpower types on Wednesday to give the house a thorough cleaning. I still have to dung the shop out but that won't take long now. RJ raided the remaining tools while he was here yesterday. He also took some furniture, the waterbed and the canoe.

It was very nice of Craig to leave his little skid loader here. We got busted using it yesterday but he said he didn't mind so we used it again today. It works great for ferrying stuff to the little barn. And we used it to move a couple of loads to our free garage sale at the end of the lane. We moved the fridge out there yesterday, having been unsuccessful in our efforts to sell it. Today some "disadvantaged citizens" drove up the lane and asked if we would haul it to town, since we had a truck and they didn't. Fortunately Marilyn had gone outside to talk to them because I would have been a lot less understanding than she was.

And the weather has absolutely been cooperating. Other than that one miserable night when the water froze up after we first moved back here the weather has been great. We were wandering around the yard today in shirtsleeves. It has to get cold soon but so far we have really caught a break. This time last year we had already had close to a month of winter, Denton had plowed the yard already and it was dipping to -30 at night. There's no way this old bus will handle that kind of temperature with water in the lines so this year's weather has been a major break.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Less than a month

One short month ago we still thought we were going to spend the winter in Nipawin fixing the place up, mother was still chugging along looking after father, Anne was in the hospital or just back home and looking like she might die any minute. Now we're a few days away from leaving this yard forever, mother is gone and Anne has staged a remarkable recovery (at 101 and one-half). At that age the 1/2 year is just as important as it is to a 3 year old. After we held her 100th birthday party she said "I don't suppose you will do this again next year, will you?" I think she's on track for the 105th celebrations now.

The property sale is proceeding apace. We signed a bunch of stuff today and Sandy says she has the money already but can't turn it over to us until Dec. 1 because we set Nov. 30 as the closing date. We thought that was a pretty aggressive date when we set it but apparently she has it through Land Titles already. We've had next to no interest in the furniture we're trying to move so there will be some really happy travellers over the weekend when they see it sitting out at the end of the lane. RJ is on his way up here to pick up some food, the canoe, some books and my big recliner. We'll try to palm some other stuff off on him too but there isn't a whole lot left.

I've been plotting our route and checking it against people we know along the way. Other than the time we will spend in Washington, D.C. I don't think we will pay for a parking spot after we leave Quebec and we've got one spot lined up on the way out to Quebec. I'm not looking forward to the night around Thunder Bay because I doubt there will be any alternative to a gas station parking lot and it will be COLD. It seems like the furnace is working but I still remember how it let us down last winter so I'm not 100% sure it will get us out of the country without trouble this time. Once we start heading south on the east side of the lakes there may be a lot of snow but it should be noticeably warmer but getting there will be the challenge. Mind you, anything has to be an improvement over the deep freeze we are enduring here now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Endings and beginnings

My mother died on Tuesday and I have been avoiding writing about it yet knowing that I must eventually. How could I honestly write an account of our ongoing life on the road without writing about such a climactic event?

We knew when we came out in August that she didn't have much time left. That was a large part of the reason - perhaps all of the reason - for their move into Victoria Park. They got settled in there and she slowly let go of some of the responsibility for caring for father. She never entirely let go of that responsibility though. She went into the hospital last Thursday - I last spoke to her on the phone Sunday night and she was still worried about how father was going to cope. She was very much at peace with her own destiny but concerned about how father would manage without her. And that's an open question. There is no doubt that he is better off in Victoria Park and that they will do their best to look after him but there are a lot of pieces to his life that he will not be able to keep together. Fortunately he seems to realize that and be willing to give up some of the authority and responsibility for his own well being so perhaps it will work out.

I'm sure at some level mother knew this summer that there was something seriously wrong with her health but I don't think she knew until she went into the hospital this time just how imminent her death was. She seemed genuinely unafraid of her approaching death, not eager to leave her friends here but ready for whatever came next. She spoke repeatedly about the phrase from the United Church creed which says "God is with us, we are not alone, thanks be to God". She also spoke of seeing the hand of God in the people who surrounded her at the end - the palliative care doctors and nurses, her friends and her family. We could all take some lessons about facing our ultimate destiny from her example.

The sale of our acreage meanwhile is progressing at breakneck speed. Sandra Carson is working her magic with land titles and we expect to close on or before the end of November. We have been blessed with some excellent weather for clearing the house out although I understand that things have taken a turn for the worse in the past few days. We left Nipawin the morning after Mom died and moved the bus to Regina to be with father for the interim. We will need to go back to Nipawin, finish up there and then get to warmer climes before this old Prevost freezes up solid. Fortunately the ProHeat which gave me so much trouble last winter and this spring appears to be working well now and we have managed to stay warm at night. Its really pushing the envelope though to live in an RV in this kind of weather and we can't expect to do it forever. The sooner we can get to a lower latitude the better it will be.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What a difference a week makes

So last Saturday we arrived back in Nipawin in the dark. I dropped Marilyn off in P.A. where her car was and we met up in Nipawin. We got parked on the driveway in front of the garage and settled in for the night. One week later, almost to the hour and its hard to believe all that has happened in seven quick days.

Monday morning Craig came to look the place over. He hadn't much more than left when the idiot appraiser showed up. She might as well have stayed under whatever rock she crawled out from for all the help she ended up being but that's a whole 'nuther story. I can't remember when we gave Craig a price but I know we were still arguing with the appraiser about whether it was reasonable to use mobile homes sitting on their wheels as comparable properties. Craig came back out with his mom and dad and then he made a counter offer which was really pretty close to our asking price so we accepted it.

Since then the race has been on. We had already got Glenda (Karla's friend) started taking some of the furnishings that we knew were going to be surplus. Until we were sure that the place was sold we didn't want to get rid of too much stuff just in case we ended up spending the winter here but as the week went on it became increasingly apparent that it wasn't likely that we would be here much longer. Now that we have a deal Glenda has gone into overdrive hauling stuff away.

I got a construction roll-off garbage bin dropped here on Monday and we have it pretty well full. I hope its going to hold everything. There seems to be no end of junk that has to go into it but surely it will stop at some point. We've arranged with Craig to continue to use the little red barn for storage for one full year. We'll also leave the boat in the metal shed over the winter.

Craig has purchased most of the tools in the garage. I'm going to add a few to the bus complement and keep a few in storage for whenever we finally come off the road. I may even take some extra tools with us in the summer. Bernie has a little workshop at Whispering Pines where I might be able to make some sawdust in return for fixing the occasional picnic table.

We've got some really busy weeks coming up now. We both have contracts that we are working on during the day. In the evening we have been packing. So far the weather has cooperated but it will get to be a serious challenge if it gets really cold. The bus is good to about -15, maybe -20 but anything past that is going to be a big problem.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a sad day

There will be a lot of people disappointed over the next four years. Last night glitz and glitter triumphed over substance. To anyone who has ever bemoaned poor voter turnout, yesterday should demonstrate that there is no more dangerous weapon than a ballot in the hands of a stupid person.

The black guy has an insurmountable challenge. There is no way he can meet even half the expectations that he has built for himself. Serves him right.