Friday, June 29, 2012

Another Adventure With Grandma

I went to my best friend's cottage for a few days, with the Bean and the Humvee in tow. This is what I learned:
1. Women who elect to have children in their fifties are seriously flawed (stupid, naive, two bricks short, maybe more). There's a reason the baby works close down pretty much on their own at this age. We should never fool with Mother Nature. Ever.
2.The ability to make horrendous piecrust is not inherited. My Mom made great piecrust. I, who can make/bake pretty much anything, cannot make a piecrust to save my life. In fact it may be declared a weapon of mass destruction. My daughter however, can make piecrust to rival my Mom's. And her fig and whiskey pie is the best.
3. Vegetarianism is a learned behaviour. When cooking for/with my daughter who is vegetarian. Who would miss the meat with things like a mushroom lasagne with dried lobster and porcini mushrooms, and fresh shiotaki, white, cremini and oyster mushrooms combined with two pounds of cheese? Or the lightest of home made ricotta gnocchi with fresh mozzarella and a delectable tomato sauce?
4. Advanced verbal skills do not mean advanced reasoning skills. It's sometimes hard to remember that the Humvee is short of 2. However, I am trying hard to figure out why this is also true of many adults I know.
5. Grandma of the Year? Won't likely be me. Locked the kid out of the house earlier this year, then left him on his own while his Mom was in the outhouse. See # 1.
6. Deerflies and kids don't mix. Particularly true of adult children.
7. A sunny "Hi Grandma!" will always rock my world!
Until we meet in the GWN, provided I retrieve my computer in Yellowknife. Look it up.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Arctic Antics

1. I'm Just Wild About Harry: That's our Jack of all trades at Cambridge Bay. Said to me one morning after what I thought was a successful struggle with my hair gel : "What happened to your hair?" Gee, thanks?
2. Where's Waldo? Okay, where's my computer? There is an advantage to owning essentially three computers even though I am by myself. Because when stupidity sets in and you leave your computer in the overhead bin of a stupid small plane chartered by stupid Canadian North because their stupid big 737 wasn't working, then you have something to fall back on.
3. Non Service With a Smile: I remembered my computer while waiting in the security line up in Yellowknife. Went to the airline counter. No one from Canadian North would go across to the Arctic West hangar to retrieve it, neither would the Arctic folks deliver it. Oddly, they never contacted Canadian North about it, you know, when they had two hours to deliver it across the parking lot to Canadian North. I was told to pick it up at the airport the next time I was in town, which fortunately will be July 2nd. But what if I never returned? Then what? I was left wishing my Guatemalan guide and finder of lost articles had been with me. He'd have gotten it back for me.
4. Celebrating Granny's Death: Results in a broken beer bottle to the chin and a stitching job from me. Granny would be proud.
5. I'm Telling Dad on You: Said by same patient when he realized (because I told him) that his brother was taking pictures of the whole process with his smart phone. The stitchee was 37 years old.
6. Man's Best Friend? Rabies up there in the Arctic, who would have thought? Gave out more immunizations due to possible rabies exposure than for regular child hood diseases. Didn't touch one doggie myself. It's in the fox population up there.
7. Underneath All That Ice: Is rock and stones. Lichen and some short little plants, but otherwise it's a kind of hilly moon scape. What plant life there is will bloom sometime in July. Otherwise, no trees, no bushes, George W. or otherwise.
8. Land of The Midnight Sun: So what Einstein didn't use black out blinds in the original design? I re-did the windows, design by Reynolds. Wrap. As in tin foil. Maybe they built the place when the 24 darkness was still hanging about.
Look out, Tiger!
9, Search and Rescue: Golfing term up here. Because you can't see the ball among the rocks and stones. But hey, it's free!
10. The Happy Hooker: Okay, not really. "Are you married?" "Uh, no." " Do you wanna go to the Elks and hook up with someone?" "Uh, no."  The nurse that runs the STI program overheard the conversation and graciously offered to go with me since she knows who has what disease. Uh, no.
11. Non Service With a Smile Part 2: The flight out of Cambridge Bay was delayed by almost 2 hours, and instead of the 737 they sent the aforementioned Dash 8, aka the stupid small plane. So those folks with connections in Edmonton missed them. And had to fork out for their own hotels there. Why? Because they weren't booked with Canadian North the rest of the way. Hellooo! Canadian North doesn't go anywhere else through the provinces. And with a ticket cost that could fly me around the world, you would think they would offer some compensation because their equipment basically sucks. Several times weekly, apparently, which saw me stuck in another community when the incoming nurses were stranded in Yellowknife because of faulty planes.
A great supply for Charlie Brown's Halloween.
12. My Little Cabin in The Woods: Up in the Arctic, they don't go into the bush. They go to the rock. The residents all have little cabins or shacks out of town, to get away from it all. Except they already live in the rocks in the middle of no where. Go figure.
13. Do You Know Where Your Children Are? I bet a lot of folks up there don't When I was returning to the residence at 3 AM in broad daylight, I noticed groups of young teenagers and kids plying the streets. Put some foil on the bedroom windows and put them to bed, I say.
14. $13.99: The price of a small jar of peanut butter.
15. $295: The price of handmade sealskin gloves. I'm still thinking. They have to be kept in the freezer, otherwise they shed.
16. $330,000: The asking price for a 3 bedroom condo in Cambridge Bay. We are not talking the Marilyn Monroe buildings we have in Mississauga. Contrary to what one would expect in an isolated part of the world, housing is very expensive.
17. Shopping While Working: As the new kid in town, everday, someone would pass by my office and try to sell me stuff, from zipper pulls fashioned like miniature boots, all beaded and made of seal, to miniature Inukshuks. The Inukshuk won, it now accompanies my Taino moon goddess outside my apartment.
18. On Golden Pond: I asked about where they dump the sewage after it is sucked out of the septic tanks. In a big pit near the dump. Untreated. Ick.
I am back home now, although for me, it's as the song goes, wherever I lay my hat. Except I hate wearing one. I guess it's wherever I park my butt. One week from now, I will hopefully pick up my computer in Yellowknife on the journey to Kugluktuk. I hope the lichens and ground covers are blooming, or whatever lichens and ground covers do. And I am still on the search for a wild musk ox.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Adventures With Grandma

Bless her heart, the Bean asked me to babysit the Humvee one evening last week. We all went out for dinner first, then to her neighbours' for dessert, meeting up with two other couples as well. It wasn't THAT long ago that I was in their shoes (was it?). After a Bud Lime and a game of tag with the neighbours' dog, and a recap of where things were, the Bean and her gang took off, and the Humvee and I retired to the house. His little red shoe was undone, so I decided to remove his shoes, it was almost 9 PM so it would be time for a story, a glass of milk and bed. One would have thought I was killing him. My little Humvee started wailing and threw himself on the floor. I told him that I didn't understand crying (liar) and that he needed to tell me what he wanted. "Shoes. Walk." "Can you say please?" "Pease."
Little kids are certainly a test of manual dexterity for us middle aged folks. I pretty much had his laces completely out and the shoes deconstructed before I could squish his feet in. He was highly amused, and giggled away. With hands held, and goofy goldie in tow, we toddled off to the park for a quick go at the swings. Dash doesn't like holding hand too much, but I made him. I told him it wasn't an option. Then, "What did I say?" "Not option." Good. We had a marvelous time, returned to the house just after 9:30, it was pretty dark, but everyone was happy. Until....
I discovered we were locked out of the house. In my old house, and at certain friends' homes, the knob lock is engaged for short outings. At my daughter's house, one has to use the deadbolt, to which I have a key. You would think that after having to have Brianne's neighbour Sean slink through the kitchen window last year when I had locked the wrong lock the first time, I would have known which lock to use. But no. And like all good Grandmas, I swiftly used the "S" word, softly, but not so softly that the Humvee didn't hear. He was happily dancing on the grass, uttering the expletive in a sing songy voice with each step he took.
Aha! The cell phone with the kids' cell number you say. Aha! Locked in the house too. An open window? Nope. Neighbours with keys? They were out with the Bean and Ian. So I uttered a few more expletives in my mind while I put the dog in the back yard. What to do.
Checked in on the neighbours' neighbours. Light and voices emanated from within. Finally an opened door after three trials of knocking.  I politely asked for a phone, child in arms. "No phone." Door shut. No soup for you. Off we shuffled to another set of neighbours about six doors down. The inside door was open. Knocked twice. No answer. To the neighbours on the other side of the Bean. No luck. As I was trudging to a local mall with an increasingly tired little Humvee, my saviour appeared. A gentleman going for a drive. I pounced on him before he got into the car, and begged a phone from him. Obligingly, he returned with a phone and a pen and paper. I think I woke Ian's Dad, and when I asked him for Ian's phone number, he said "Which one?" He has 4 or 5. He eventually texted Ian our little dilemma along with the phone number where I was. The gentleman's wife came out, and offered the couch for me and a blankie for the sleepy Humvee, who happily stretched out on it. But, no call back. So I called the number that Ian's Dad texted. "The person you are calling is not available. Please try your call again later." Another mindful expletive. Eureka! I knew where they were! The gentleman googled "The Ranch", and in no time, I was babbling at the hostess: "...and I locked the wrong door and  how could I have been so stupid a second time and no neighbours were around until I came upon this one, and how could I have been so stupid and can you look for my daughter and how could I have been so stupid and my son in law and how could I have been so extraordinarily dumb?"  It was 11 PM by the time I put the baby to bed. The Humvee, not me. I hope they will still let me take him to Disney World someday. They use passcards in most hotels these days.
Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home. Which may be the front lawn when I'm with Grandma.