August is a bookend month with this month with long weekends at each end.
August Long Weekend
It's the afternoon of the Monday of the August long weekend. I realized this morning that the system of quitting at Surmont 2 is flawed. It is a phone-in system. If you tell anybody face to face that you are quitting you will be driven to camp, marched to your room and somebody will watch while you pack and then you will be driven to the site gate where a cab will take you to the bus depot in Fort McMurray where you will wait for a bus to Edmonton, reportedly at your own expense. So once one is safely home by airplane one phones and leaves a voice mail.
The flaw? Anybody could phone on your behalf whether you knew about it or not. That would be interesting.
Nobody phoned on my behalf. While my plans to quit were not a total secret I was careful not to blab them overly much and made it to Edmonton airport before phoning in. No cab at the gate for me.
But I digress.
Right about now if I had not phoned in I would be waiting in the Cariboo Air terminal for a boarding announcement. It is not quite as exceptional as the former Air Miskew terminal southbound leg of Surmont 2 travel mentioned in last month's update but it is not without its opportunities for improvement.
You arrive at the check-in counter and give your name, a piece of i.d. and they check the roster. If your name is on the roster then they weigh your bag, tag it and give you a numbered boarding card. If your name is not on the roster you are given a card with a phone number and told to go to a seating area and call the number on the card.
The first time I arrived with all my paperwork from my employer's travel department I was told I was not on the list. I called the number. The voice on the other end said they would check with my employer and to go back to the counter in twenty minutes.
Meanwhile I was eavesdropping on the conversation of a person next to me. He was calling the person who had dropped him off at the terminal to come pick him back up. He had been laid off at noon and learned out about it at the airport at four by being told he was not on the flight. I asked "what company?" Same as me. "What trade?" Electrician. Different but similar.
He was not impressed. He could have been on the out of work board at his union hall for the seven days he had been off. He had clothes and tools in the unit and a suitcase at camp. He would have to make arrangements to get all that stuff shipped to him. I was dismayed at the disregard for workers. I was hopeful that maybe I would have the summer off after all. Logic said I should work a bit more this year to get the chequing account back to normal. Buying a new truck tends to take a chunk out of one's chequing account, but six weeks of six ten's had sapped my will. I went to the counter and received a boarding card, manned up and went through security into the waiting room.
The door from security enters into the waiting room in the same corner as and next to the door that people exit through to the planes. People are accummulated in the waiting room until there are two 737's worth of them. Smokers and people needing a washroom go back and forth through security and add to the traffic through the doorway. There was an announcement for the first plane, "We are now boarding passengers holding boarding cards 1 through 158." 158 people crowd into the corner. Then once the corner is plugged with people the announcement is made, "we are boarding by ten's. Would passengers holding boarding cards 1 through 10 please report to the gate." This takes some time since there are 148 people in the corner already as well as the ten who should be there. Of course, the door from/to security is now plugged by the crowd adding to the stress of any smokers or incontinent trying to return the waiting room to board their plane. If you have a high number boarding card and think through the situation instead of herding up it does give you a chance to go sit on one of the comfortable leather sofas that were unavailable before the crowd swarmed the gate. I wonder if third world chicken bus terminals offer benchmarking to Canadian private air terminals.
But enough of nostalgia. This has been a pleasant weekend. On Friday we shopped for flooring for the fifth wheel. We had ripped it out on my last days off but had not had time to install new flooring. We decided that the laminate we had bought at Costco in May would add too much weight to the rig so I returned it on my last travel day north.
On Friday, after purchasiing some cushion floor that was 80% discounted due to a flaw that should not be a problem for us we took it to daugter Deborah's basement and cut it to width (only 92 and change inches of the stock 144 inch / 12 foot width) and length and cut one edge to fit I decided I did not trust my measurement for the other edge or for the pipes and wires under the island. We went home and measured some more. I did some more pre-work on the floor and Juanita stained and varnished some trim. Then we had a relaxing evening.
Saturday we returned to Deborah and Ernie's basement and did our cutting and brought the roll home. It dropped in place with only minor adjustment and we left it to settle in and for any signs of being rolled up to disappear. Sunday was a quiet day. Too quiet. We lollygagged until I made us late for church.
Not too late to end up doing announcements, though. Summer in Saskatchewan is not a time when people tend to be on time.
After lunch at Deborah and Ernie's we hung around and visited until Deborah and Juanita went to the rodeo grounds to look for a bridle somebody had lost the day before and Ernie and I went for an ice cream.
Today has been relaxing, taken up with reading and surfing. I have been reading a cheap mystery (Kindle daily deal) and Juanita has been reading a guide book for Panama. We have our tickets to Nicaragua in January and back from Panama in March. I guess I should find a land line tomorrow and practice my Spanish with the desk clerk of the Hotel Jerico in Granada for our first few weeks and the Hotel Express for our first night in Managua.
Tomorrow would have been a work day. If I'm going to choose to pass up the chance for a wage I should at least make good use of the time. Wish me self discipline and perseverance. And temperance, of course.
It wouldn't be good to over do things.
I guess Elmore Leonard died. There have been a few articles about him this weekend. One was about an interview he gave. Having no ambitions to write the great Canadian novel I probably won't follow the advice he gave to get up two hours early every day to write, but today managed to write another Tale of Buddy for my/your enjoyment. It's about a former tenant and and will be at the top of the "Tales of Buddy" page until another one gets written.
UPDATE - another one got written and posted at the top. Two in one week. This Elmore guy is a bad influence! Enjoy the tale of Buddy the language scholar. If you happen to know whatever became of him have him e-mail me.
Fifth Wheel Floor
Two winters ago we went south but our rig stayed home. Flying to Nicaragua seemed a more practical way to travel. It got cold while we were away and the flooring in the kitchen/living room contracted and split in several places.
Last summer was just too busy with no time to do anything about it with living in our rig full-time while working at the Co-op refinery and working on the house in the five weeks I took off in July and August. This May we chose some click together vinyl plank flooring at Costco. It was thin enough and the theory was that the multiple joints would share the contraction pain and not get a case of the splits. Probably true.
In May we picked up the flooring in Edmonton and headed home. On the way home we bought a new truck. New, but last year’s model. A 2012 Dodge Ram dually. It has more power than the old truck, but has a slightly lower rating for towing capacity. We had always been under the old rating, but it was now time to shed a few pounds. Lots of stuff we carry because we can and because we have. It won’t be a problem to reduce weight, but three hundred pounds of flooring seemed counterproductive to our rig weight reduction program. The flooring was returned to Costco.
In a week off in July we ripped out the old flooring and carpet (total weight seventy pounds) and started prepping the subfloor. The plan was to use Flex Rock paint on floor covering, but there was no time to do anything about that before heading north. The delay gave time to think. What if the Flex wasn’t? Would the floor crack at the subfloor joints with the motion of the trailer? Was such a high profile project the best place to work with this material the first time? Would a basement laundry room be better
Juanita saw some sheet flooring in a friend’s kitchen that she liked. We went to the local lumberyard that had just opened. They had samples of something we liked, but nothing in stock and it was $45 a square yard. Off to the competition.
“What are you looking for?”
“We have this roll with some flaws that I will sell you for $7 a yard”.
It was the same stuff the other store had samples of and was selling for $45 a yard. The flaws along one edge were not a problem with how we were going to use it. Sold.
Then off to daughter Debbie’s basement to cut it to shape and roll it back up and back to the rig to install it. It meant taking out the stairs and kitchen island which we had planned on working around and presented some challenges with the edge under one slide, but the slides seem to go in and out okay and the flooring looks great! Way nicer looking than the old stuff.
This seems to have more give than the old flooring. We’ll see how it stands up to the cold when we leave the rig and fly south to Nicaragua and Panama this winter.
Mitre Saw Table
Miter Saw Table
One of the mini projects completed this month was the repurposing of an old propane BBQ grill as a table for a miter saw. It took under two hours and works great, but probably was a waste of time. Right after constructing it I put it away in the sea can with the saw attached. The contraption is too bulky and heavy. You really need a person inside the sea can and a person outside the sea can or both doors open to effectively get it up and into the sea can. Once there it fills the aisle and generally gets in the way.
Mark 2.0 was to remount the miter saw with carriage bolts and wing nuts so the saw can be removed and the table left outside under a tarp. It adds a nice Ma and Pa Kettle homestead look to the place.
Mark 2.1 was to cut a corner off the right table so the miter saw could do 45 degree cuts both ways.
Son-in-law Ernie has been rushing around to complete everything possible before going away to apprenticeship school for September and October. They are in the process of purchasing a quarter section of land and an almost liveable farmhouse so the next step will be to sell their present house. Part of preparing for sale has been to apply vinyl siding this month. I spent a few days helping with that.
Out on our property Ernie helped me add snow guard on the edge of our metal roof to prevent snow from sliding off in massive chunks. At least that is the theory. I have more dark concerns that have been relegated to my anxiety closet for now. The snow guard we used was a metal strip which one mounts near the bottom of the metal roof. We did the south eave, moving the scaffolding along as we went. Then we relocated the scaffold to the north eave.
While installing the snow guard on the north eave we noticed that ice had munched the rain cap and flashing on the chimney and bent the chimney brace arms. We left the scaffolding up in that location so I could put the last piece of snow guard up and putter at the chimney problem at my leisure. The picture shows the plow I built out of snow guard material and mounted upstream of the chimney. Hopefully the snow guard on the edge of the roof prevents any sliding of the snow pack on the roof and the plow sees no real force.
Unless, of course, the snow guard on the edge is too close to the edge and gets ripped off taking with it the eaves troughing I have ordered and hope to put on in September. And maybe the plow will create lateral forces which will rip the chimney braces off, pulling over the chimney they are supposed to help support, like the snow that ripped the chimney off the Bethel Gospel Camp chapel roof this spring.
So many anxieties...
The anxiety closet door is getting hard to close.
Kohen celebrated his fifth birthday this month with firends over and a bouncy castle and a kiddy pool of green slime and a dinosaur cake and a trip to Edmonton to see cousin Ezekiel.
Juanita's birthday celebration was more sedate. Took the usual picture of her blowing out the candles. None worth posting. Or is that none worth my life for posting them?
Labour Day Weekend
The month is in the home stretch and we are rushing around to get ready to leave. I ripped off the plastic surrounds on the rear roof edge and the back corners of the fifth wheel trailer because they were cracking. They were really reluctant to come off. One of the few times that R-Vision used the right stuff to attach something. Of course they nicked the edges with the screws so that caused the cracks except around the tailights which was a design flaw.
I started the task with the thought that they were fiberglas and would be a simple thing to repair and repaint. Once I got them off I discovered they were plastic. Discovered that the company that made them destroyed the mould. Learned from same company that they were ABS plastic. Learned through the dealer that the RV company didn't source them from anywhere else and that they were unavailable. Have been really tediously removing gunk and then building up reinforcement from fibreglas matting and ABS pipe cement. The rush is on to get them finished and installed before Labour Day so we can take the trailer to be weighed and turn it around so it is easier to get out of here in March when the yard will be snow covered.