Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Really Big Thing and a Not So Big Trip

Yesterday we visiting father for one last time before packing up and leaving Regina.  It was really hard to leave him, particularly so because he was having one of his “off” days.  When we go to visit him we’re never sure who is going to be lying in his bed.  Somedays he’s pretty much on his game and other times he’s right out of it.  Yesterday was one of those other times.  His regular companion Diane is also away this week so it’s going to be a lonely week for him but we have some things we have to do that we had been putting off in order to be in Regina.

We stopped here at the Bethune highway rest area alongside Highway 11 between Regina and Saskatoon.  It was a surprisingly popular stopping point with fairly regular visitors to the outhouses. 

When we arrived in Saskatoon we parked in front of a laundry on the east side of town so that we could deal with about 3 weeks worth of dirty clothing.

Some heavy thundershowers hit Saskatoon last night causing us to briefly consider staying on the pavement in town somewhere but finally we decided to go ahead with our original plan which was to park at Blaine & Jackie’s place just east of the city.  So this morning we woke with a grand view of the city from the top of Eagle Ridge about 2 miles east of town.  We had a good visit with Jackie and the boys last night but Blaine was out of town overnight on a relief manager project.  He’ll be back tonight so we’ll be able to break out a little good scotch and swap lies together. 

The municipal boondoggle that has been plaguing our friends continues unabated.  They built this house about 10 years ago now.  Its a gorgeous view location along the top of a ridge with farmland to the east and roughly two miles of buffer to the west between them and the city.  Shortly after they moved in though they discovered that the long range plan for the city includes putting a freeway through their front yard.  The last time I visited Blaine he was getting ready for a municipal information meeting which Jackie updated us on last night. 

Apparently they have a development timeframe which might be 15 years or it might be 75 years.  So in the meantime the affected residents live in a state of limbo with no real direction from their municipal planners.  For Blaine & Jackie its more of a potential annoyance than an immediate issue.  The proposed expropriation would leave their home close to but not directly impacted by the new freeway.  One of their neighbours however has his house sitting directly in the path of the proposed freeway.  The house is located on 80 acres which is the smallest subdivision allowed in this jurisdiction and they only allow one residence per legal subdivision.  The owner is getting on in years and his son would like to build another residence on the same property but out of the path of the proposed freeway.  Good luck getting the bureaucrats to get their heads around that one.

From here the plan is to go to Nipawin via Candle Lake.  That’s actually a pretty direct route and it catches some friends that we haven’t seen for a long time.  We’ve both got meetings here today and tomorrow but we’ll try to get away in good time on Friday.  If the weather forecast holds it will be (another) wet soggy weekend at Candle Lake.  We thought about going to Waskesiu because its a lot more pleasant place to spend a wet weekend but our friends are going to be in Candle Lake so that’s the current plan.

I’ve got parts ordered from the frenchmen at Prevost Parts.  And some more ordered from Al at Nipawin Parts.  Al’s parts arrived OK, on time and were the right ones but Darrel phoned me yesterday to say that the frenchmen had shipped the wrong brake cam.  That’s not really a surprise because they generally screw up something on every parts order.  I’ve got another one ordered from them but I have very little faith that they will get it right so just for insurance I phoned Al and he tracked down what we need in Edmonton.  If the plan comes together all the parts will hit Nipawin about Friday and we’ll be in Darrel’s shop Tuesday hanging them on the bus.  If by some miracle the frenchmen manage to ship the right part it will mean we have an extra pair of brake cams but they also fit the front wheels and we’ll likely rebuild them next summer so the cams won’t be completely surplus.  On the other hand, if they ship a 2nd wrong one as I fully expect them to do, they’ll get them both back freight COD.


Croft said...

Dealing with aging parents can be a trying experience. We had Norma's dad living here for almost two years. One of us had to be in the house with him at all times or he would get into mischief. Turn on the stove and try to cook or "prove" he could walk without his walker and end up on the floor. It was a very trying experience even with the four hours every Friday night that Home Support provided someone to sit with him so we could go out for dinner.

We finally could no longer deal with it and he moved into a facility where he told anyone who would listen that he had never seen the inside of our house.... Nice Guy!

He actually was a nice guy, so it was a surprise when we got a phone call in AZ telling us they had to take him to the hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in a fist fight with another patient. The two ninety some year olds were slugging it out over something important. It wasn't the first fight in his life and we were surprised to hear he came in second. The other guy had the advantage though. Norma's dad was in a wheelchair and the other guy could dance around like Mohammad Ali. It was the first fight he ever lost!

He lost his last fight at 98 but I don't think he really put up much of a battle. He was ready to go.

Wil said...

As a former municipal planner & bureaucrat, I offer the following. How about selling the original home for relocation to a new lot somewhere else nearby in the community? Then build the desired new residence while living in a 30'+ trailer during construction. Assuming that the friend's father is in shape sufficient to withstand that much change, of course.

It really depends upon having a planner willing (and politically able) to work for and with the citizens. Some jurisdictions tie their planners' hands behind their backs, insisting they be "impartial". That is guaranteed to piss off everybody.

Then again, it is hard to understand that sometimes it is better to inconvenience a few to benefit the many. While moving of a home wouldn't ever be viewed as an "inconvenience" by the homeowner, laying out and changing the alignment of a four-lane highway to avoid a single dwelling might affect a dozen others. Then whose tail is caught in a wringer? I do wish your friends' neighbors well in this matter.