For unto us is born this day, in the city of David, a saviour, who is Christ the Lord
We trust that 2013 was a good year for everyone. It was mixed for us. Mostly smooth but with a few hard, bitter lumps in the mix.
We welcomed in the New Year in Texas at Way of the Cross, a SOWER project in Harlingen. Before the January SOWER crew showed up we moved our rig to the back forty on the WOTC grounds and flew to Nicaragua for the second year in a row and helped with WOTC’s Medfest near Granada. We had helped with the same event when it was held in Mexico and followed it to Nicaragua.
In February we worked at a SOWER project at Victory Camp south of Houston and in March we returned to Canada. Travelling north at that time of the year is a matter of timing. We lurked in Gladewater, Texas and watched the weather maps before moving north a bit to Oklahoma from where we timed our dash almost well enough. In North Dakota we hit freezing rain and hunkered down in a truck stop overnight before proceeding cautiously over very slick roads. There was a blizzard coming and if we didn’t get north of it we would be stuck for up to a week. We got north of it in time, but also had to make it to Regina that night. We called the the RV park. They had no spots plowed out and wouldn’t have until Monday midday. So we parked our rig across from our motel room in Verdin Manitoba and watched the drifts pile up for a couple of nights. They had dug a spot out for us in Regina by the time we got there so we abandoned our rig, went for an epre-employment drug test, dropped the results off at the refinery and carried on to Saskatoon to stay with friends before heading to Meadow Lake for a few days.
April and May Paul worked at the Co-op refinery doing instrumentation work during their annual shutdown while Juanita volunteered again at a former MCC thrift store. It was good to get caught up with friends at work and in the area. While we were in Regina, Paul’s niece Deanna died in Powell River, BC. She was only 48 and there had been no warnings of any health problems so we are still in a state of shock and unbelief.
At the end of May we returned to Meadow Lake and then Paul started working at the Surmont 2 construction site near Fort McMurray, Alberta. The work was fine, but the prison camp culture and the organizationally challenged travel arrangement was too much and Paul quit at the end of July.
August we worked on our property south of Meadow Lake.
In September, Juanita went to Edmonton to mind grandson Ezekiel while Becky was on bed rest with her pregnancy and her husband Nick was working at a refinery shutdown out of town. Paul went to BC for a week to visit friends and family before returning to work on our property near Meadow Lake.
The last week of September, Paul began work at a mod yard fifteen minutes’ drive from Becky’s house and stayed working there until the last day of November. Mod yards build sub components of petro chemical plants. The modules are like giant Lego blocks and get assembled together in remote locations.
In October, Nick finished his shutdown work and came home in time for the birth of their daughter, Eliana on October 22. She was due in early December so Eliana spent 2 and a half weeks in the neo natal unit. Her weight Christmas week is finally over eight pounds.
Juanita went back to Meadow Lake in November for a while to mind our other grandchildren, Sonja, Sasha and Kohen while their parents, Deborah and Ernie, went to Belize. This was a trip to celebrate an anniversary and the completion of Ernie’s apprenticeship training in instrumentation.
December we have retired again and after three weeks of total sloth on Paul’s part we are ready for Christmas and a trip back to Nicaragua in January to help with Medfest again. In February we plan to tour Costa Rica and come back to Canada from Panama in March.
This our alternate year. We are in Canada for Christmas. We, our children and grandchildren are all in Meadow Lake for Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
December 1 was the first day back in retirement since September.
It has been spent mostly housebound at temperatures around -20 C. and 0 F. and lower. Those are not precise conversions just some numbers to give you an idea of what it has been like depending whether you think in Celsius or Fahrenheit which is an age and geography thing.
With me I think in Celsius for cold temperatures and Fahrenheit for hot temperatures, because I grew up with Fahrenheit on the west coast of Canada. By the time we moved to the prairies the temperature was being reported in Celsius so anything below freezing I think of in Celsius. The coldest temperature I remember from the coast was 15 F. and that seemed bitterly cold and managed to stop my little Datsun truck from moving until the gas line was thawed.
Temperatures have not quite got down to -40 C. / F. so far this winter and it looks like we will escape south before it happens. And it will happen.
December has been a quiet slothful month on the property in the frozen north.
Just a few observations and learnings.
We managed to get out of the house a bit for pneumonia shots and a typhoid booster shot, but before the next time we spend any time here in winter weather I need to build something big enough to build things in and to exercise in. Three weeks of no exercise will make you fat no matter how carefully you eat most days.
We discovered that if you leave the heat gun plugged in while you go to look for a scraper that it becomes hot enough to start the deck on fire. It was put out easily with a couple of cups of water, and only took fifteen minutes to dig a spot out through the snow to crawl underneath and inspect the deck from below.
Also learned that if you turn the crockpot upside down to dump the contents in the toilet the ceramic pot falls into the toilet and shatters. The toilet bowl survived, this time, "don't count on that if you do it again".
Lived through an upgrade to Windows 8.1 which only took most of a day. Then there was the day spent cleaning up log files that the virus scanner had totally filled the hard drive with until there was not enough room for the computer to run, just crawl a bit. And the day to install the new malware scanner and scan the disk a few times and clean up some performance issues. Most of them, anyway. Here's hoping that Win 8.11 and the corresponding Internet Explorer are less flaky.
But enough whining.
We have lost friends and family this year and a few issues are pretty minor.
Mostly I don't feel old, but I don't like this idea of people dying around me. I don't mind the thought of me dying. Hate the thought of not being healthy and/or being imprisoned as an invalid drooling in some nursing home. The biggest factor in health is exercise so I guess we will start walking again next week where it is warm and we won't have a car.
Also I think we will hang out with people mostly younger than ourselves. Billy Graham said if he knew he was going to live to be so old he would have cultivated younger friends.
Started to think about packing.
Put the water heater on bypass and drained it with a hose running out the front door. It is thirty below out and after the draining was done the outside hose had to be brought into the house so it thaw and could be rolled up.
December 31, 2013
We continued prepping for leaving home.
Still thinking about packing.
Drained the water tank in the water shed with a sump pump and then finished removing the dregs with a shop vac. After the tank was dry I switched the valves so the pump would draw antifreeze into the system and opened all the taps in turn until the pink ran out. Did this all before noon so that if we needed more antifreeze the stores would be open.
Later after supper I packed (mostly) and we watched the last episode of season nine of NCIS. It was a cliff hanger so we cracked the wrap on season ten and watched the first episode of that season. We will get back to that in March.