Monday, November 18, 2013

Miscellaneous living

Sometimes I look back over a week and think I was pretty busy but really don’t have much to show for myself.  This was one of those weeks. 

I did go to Agribition on Friday.  I haven’t been there for a long time.  In fact I may have taken father with me the last time I went which would make it a really long time since I’ve been there.  It hasn’t changed all that much.  I tracked down Lane & Paula and their girls in the Charolais barn where they were fitting cattle for their show.  They were pretty busy so I had a quick visit and tried to stay out of the way. 

The main purpose of my Agribition visit was to meet a guy from Uruguay.  I’ve got a trip to Uruguay in my future.  I traded a few emails with my contact down there early last week and then he suggested that we should meet in Regina.  It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss so I agreed. 

Agribition bills itself as an international meeting place but I was frankly distressed to see the condition of the show facilities.  Agribition brings 10’s if not 100’s of millions of dollars into Regina every year but their facilities are a disgrace.  I met the Uruguayans in the “International Business Lounge” which would more aptly be named the “dinghy attic over the old show ring.”

Quite aside from the crappy facilities the staff seemed totally unaware of any international aspect to the show.  I started out asking at one of their so-called “visitor information booths.”  It was manned by some old goof wearing Lions regalia.  He wanted to be helpful but clearly didn’t have a clue and he was more or less deaf.  He did offer to find the answer but that involved using his radio and he clearly didn’t do that very often.  Once he finally figured out how to turn it on he couldn’t actually understand what the person on the other end was saying.  Fortunately I could understand what they were saying which was essentially that the place I wanted to be was about as far away from where I was as it could be without actually being off the show grounds. 

So I traipsed through all the barns and finally got close to where I needed to be but still couldn’t find the “lounge”.  At that point I remembered that the Agribition office used to be fairly close to where I was so I found it and asked the receptionist where the International Business Lounge was.  Incredibly she didn’t have a clue either.  She did wander back into the bowels of the office to ask someone and finally came back with relatively good directions.  When I eventually found the lounge I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps the place is such a disgrace that it is best nobody knows where it is anyway.  I could go on about how clueless the attendant at the door to the lounge was but I think I’ve gone on long enough already.

My long search notwithstanding I had a good visit with the Uruguayans who spoke remarkably good English.  Fortunately their national language is Spanish so I won’t feel so completely isolated as I did in Finland.  I’ll be there are the hottest time of their summer so that may be a little unpleasant but the farm is close to the ocean so that should have a moderating influence on the temperature.  No matter how hot it is it will be an improvement over a Saskatchewan winter but I won’t likely be going from Saskatchewan.  I expect that by the time I leave for Uruguay we’ll have moved back onto the boat.

Tonight I’m getting organized for a trip to Calgary.  There’s something called the North American Consulting School there Wednesday and Thursday.  Its not so much a school as a networking opportunity for unemployed fools such as myself. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Its a lot of work owning a house

(Sunday) We’ve been spoiled for a long time.  And in fairness to the house a lot of what we’re doing is more in the nature of “moving in” than “home ownership”.  Still, its a lot of work owning a house.

I wrote earlier that we moved the mattress from the bus into the house and put it on a bedframe that I built.  When I built the frame the priority was getting a place to sleep so I didn’t bother building the headboard.  But I really dislike sleeping with nothing behind my head and we can’t just push the frame up against the wall because I extended the rails to support the headboard.  So the past couple of days I’ve been finishing up the headboard.  Its pretty well ready for paint now. 


While I was gone to the US Marilyn got the satellite TV working.  It sounds like she got a nitwit for an installer because he was here half a day but he did eventually get everything working.  “Everything” being two receivers – a PVR in the bedroom and a regular receiver in the living room.  We’ve never had more than one receiver anywhere, let alone one with a PVR.  So far the TV in the bedroom is the former side scan sonar TV from Gray Hawk sitting on top of a cardboard box but that will soon change.  I’ve got a custom bracket built & stained with one coat of varnish hanging in the shop.  It should be ready to hang on the wall tomorrow night.  Once that’s done we’ll move the widescreen TV from the bus into the bedroom.

I’m very much enjoying having a shop again.  Its not much of a shop mind you – its a pretty small space – but its more than I’ve had for a long time.  And I’ve got big plans for the garage but they will have to wait for warmer weather.  For the time being the garage is not much more than a shelter to park the car under.  I’m formulating a plan to extend one wall and raise the roof but that will definitely be a next summer plan.  Its starting to look too much like winter here which means it is time to make plans to get back to the boat. 

(Monday) The small object hanging to the right of the photo is now stuck to the wall in the bedroom with the TV hanging on the front of it.  I’ve definitely inherited my father’s predisposition to carpentry as opposed to cabinetry.  From 100 yards in the daylight and probably 10 feet in the dark my little TV box looks more or less fine.  Hidden behind the widescreen TV it will hardly be noticed and it is in fact a vast improvement over the cardboard box that formerly held the TV.  Everything is relative. 

The new headboard for the bed is also visible in the photo.  It will be painted which should cover many of my carpentry sins.  I found a margarine tub sized container of wood filler that has been really useful for covering up some of my “measure once, cut twice” situations.

This morning we had a brief moment of insanity where we thought we should go to the fall supper in Theodore.  Once I made a trip to the bus in –22 degree weather we quickly rethought our plans to travel an hour on icy roads just to have supper.  Instead we’re staying inside and watching war movies – its Remembrance Day after all. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Long time … no write

I’ve been on a flying trip through Idaho and northern California for the past 10 days.  Today I’m finally catching up on some paperwork in the airport in Salt Lake City where I’m waiting for my flight to Calgary.  I’m really not looking forward to going back into the deep freeze after the shirtsleeve weather in northern California. 

On the way down I literally got waved through US Customs.  The silly bastards really should make up their minds – am I a threat or am I not?  Its not that I WANT them to harass me; I’d just have a lot more faith in the system if there was some semblance of consistency.  In their defence it was Calgary screening which has given me the least hassle of all the crossing points over the years but still – make up your minds.

This morning there was a horrendous line at the security screen checkpoint in SLC but the idiot greeter who checks to make sure you have a boarding pass sent me into the TSA Pre-Screen line.  Apparently they have the x-ray machine turned down so low in that line that pretty well anything can go through it.  The clown at the head of the line got on my case when I started emptying my pockets but it turned out I did need to empty them because I set off the alarm.  However, instead of getting immediately groped, the dude at the x-ray sent me back through to empty my pockets, all the while apologizing for his partner.  When I came through the second time, still with my shoes on, I fully expected to set the stupid thing off again but didn’t.  So instead of an hour long security ordeal I was through in under 5 minutes.  Go figure – am I or am I not a threat?

I’ll use all my airport time today to catch up on some projects that have been neglected while I ran around on Growsafe jobs.  I’m really looking forward to being at home this weekend.  We’re into the countdown until we go back to the boat around Christmas time.  Between now and then I’ve got to find some time to buy a truck because the Exploder’s days are numbered.  I’ve hated the little bitch for 8 years now and I’ve been looking hard for the last year.  Marilyn took it to the Russkie garage owner in Canora a week ago because it has started making a bad squeeking noise on the right front but of course when she got there it refused to make the noise so Sergie wasn’t able to diagnose the problem.  Its probably just a shock because she had the steering rebuilt last winter – AGAIN – but I’m taking it as a sign that its time for someone else to enjoy the unique pleasure that owning that particular piece of junk brings.  I think this fall is probably a great time to buy a used Ford diesel because of the super crop that just came off in Saskatchewan.  Farming in SK is full of uncertainty but there’s one absolute – when SK farmers have a good crop then the truck dealerships are going to have a good fall and winter.  I stopped in at Cypress Ford in Swift Current about 2 months ago now and they had 8 brand spanking new King Ranch diesels sitting in a line.  Those are 50 to 80 grand per each so obviously someone in Swift Current figures on having a good winter and more importantly, there will be some premium trades sitting on the lot shortly, if they’re not there already.