|Why did the nurse cross the frozen lake in the bitter cold?|
All went well as we boarded our twin engine on time. Spied some curious motions outside my window, and there I saw it. A poor slug de-icing the propellers with nothing other than one of those small hand held ice scrapers, a bucket of de-icing fluid, and a towel. Watched as he meticulously soaked, scraped and scrubbed those blades until perfect. At minus 28 C. While we were sitting on the plane. With no heat for us either, for 45 minutes. And then, he had to do the other side, you know twin engine planes fly better with both propellers engaged. Soon we were ready, and then were told that one of the engines couldn't start. Like your car engine on a frosty morn. So, again with no heat while strapped in the tube, we waited for another 15 minutes while a heater blew on the offending engine. Eventually it started. Now knowing these flight schedules never change, or hardly ever, why wasn't the prep done before our flight time? This was Winnipeg, land of ice and snow, each and every year, generally around the same time. Because winter is kind of regular like that, don't you know. We were like icecubes in an icecube tray in that thing, do you think they could have left us in the terminal (and I use that term loosely, but who can complain when they house a Chicken Delight that serves breakfast and coffee?) where our toes would have been kept warm? It's not like you are boarding over 200 folks on one of those Airbuses, with people not following their group boarding assignments and hogging aisle space trying to stuff oversized carry on into the overhead bins? We in the north are more civilized. It's a free for all at boarding time, the bins can't handle more than a computer, so we just go in, find a seat, and are done with it. Until they try to freeze us out. Then we grumble just a bit.
Conversation last night: "They're bringing the Chief in. Some sort of Emergency."
The Chief, wow. Wonder what's wrong." "Yeah. You know him, he's here all the time." "Really."
Guy comes in. Uh, it's Keith, not Chief.
I see the new nursing residence is preparing for the aging population of nurses. Hence the fully equipped bathtubs full of grab bars. Not that I would admit to using them or anything. But if I had to, you know....
I remember telling someone about the drinking water up north. Most places I have been to have a purification plant or system in place, and if I am told the tap water is safe for foreigners, then I drink it. In any country. Or province. But slightly yellow tap water is just plain icky. I know, it's just the minerals up here. But there's something profoundly disturbing about soaking your black beans for soup and the soaking water, instead of turning a dull murky grey-brown, comes out limey green.
|Island in the lake. Minus 31 C that day.|
Right now, back home in Mississauga, I think it is grey and rainy, so sayeth that purveyor of all truths weatherwise, the Weather Channel. I think I come up here to remember what winter was like. We used to get snowed in, once upon a time, back in Etobicoke, where it would drift up so high you couldn't get out the front screen door. We backed onto a park, and tobogganing was a nightly ritual with Stephen Sloan, my brother and I. We used to feel a little guilty because the really great hill started at the end of someone's back yard. We had to hang on to the wooden fence, inch our way down a bit to the end of the fence, then turn around it to climb to the highest part, which would be just over the border in that unfenced back yard. We tried to be a little quiet, but we were kids. Still, no one told us to get out. The hill was steep and icy, and on a good run, we would go right through the small creek at the end, hoping it was frozen over so we didn't get wet. Even if we did, we had the dreaded snow pants on. And really, we never cared if we froze our collective butts off. We were young and having fun.
Here the snow is pristine, unsullied by salt and sand and the black exhaust from buses. The blanket is thick and sparking in the sun, when the sun comes out. Everyone has a truck and/or snow machine. We used to call them snow mobiles. Times change. Pretty soon the ice roads will be open, and for a few short weeks there will be road access to all the other communities. I have walked across the lake to the store, but I am a little nervous. I just don't trust the ice, from the time when I was at my friend's cottage during the winter, going on the river for water. Saw moose tracks by an open area, thought if it could hold a moose, it could hold me. And I was so very wrong.
And that is my world today.
|Wonder if they thought before abbreviating the name?|
And that is my world today.