Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Well, the red panties anyway! This was part of his bid to win a DVD player to go along with the TV I won at my work Christmas party. (For those keeping score at home, he came in third to two women!)
We've been busy socialites heading off to Christmas parties around town. It was great to get together with our new friends and share some food and laughs!
We've also been busy preparing for our Christmas trip back south. I'm embarrassed to say we do have a schedule, but it's necessary to finalize all our wedding plans. We're looking forward to movie theatres, restaurants, and oh yeah, seeing our families and friends!
Even with the somewhat miserable weather (lows of -46, blowing snow) we've managed to get all our water deliveries. Our water is delivered directly from the lake, via tanker trucks three times a week, and is stored in our crawlspace. (A different tanker comes and pumps the sewage from the holding tank three times a week as well.) The driver just backs up to the house, and hooks up. There's an alarm that goes off when the tank is full, and a red light comes on to let them know. I felt awkward asking why all the houses on our street had red lights, until I found out about the 'No Fill' lights.
Although surprising to some people, we do still get hours of daylight even with the soltice just around the corner. 'He' says he's not noticing the lack of sun, since during the winter down south, he was at work during any daylight hours anyway. We do take the dog out during our lunch break to take advantage of the sun's weak rays. Here's a picture of a sunset over the lake.
We've managed to parcel out our pets to our friends up here, and are secure that everything will be fine while we're gone. We've paid homage to all the weather gods, and the forecast seems ok for getting out of here on Thursday. We're looking forward to coming home and seeing everyone at Christmas.
In case we don't post again before Christmas, and aren't going to be seeing you for whatever reason, we wish you all the happiness the holiday season has to offer.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Well, in Baker Lake at least!
We're down to shorter days now in Nunavut, with the solistice being a few weeks away. We start our day of work in the dark and the sunset almost at coffee break time. According to the Weather Network, the official sunrise is at 9:45 and sunset is 14:41. That's almost exactly 5 hours of daylight.
All week I've been wanting to take a picture of the height of the sun at the noon... but today was the first day this week we've seen the sun.
Just think though, by the time we get back after Christmas, we'll already be on the flip side!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
One thing we chose *not* to bring with us was Christmas decorations. We kinda figured we'd likely be going home for Christmas and didn't really need them. Well, it all comes down to 'need' vs. 'want' and I definitely wanted some decorations.
So I headed down to the Northern to pick through their lot of decorations and came home with some vibrant blue and green balls and a gold snowflake tablecloth. The balls I hung from fishing line in the windows and from the chandelier.
It's not quite like Christmas at home, but it is a touch of Christmas.
Seventeen days til we come home, but who's counting?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It is my parka. I heart my parka.
What’s this, you say? A mere coat is worthy of such adoration?
Well, let me tell you.
I don’t know about you, but I hate spending money. Hate. Going forward I won’t use that letter in the middle of a sentence involving money because it always deserves to be capitilized. Hate spending money.
HOWEVER...we spent a small fortune on these parkas and let it be known: worth every penny. Underline that. Twice.
My parka saved my sanity on the snowstorm day (which some locals may agree was a blizzard, but most will say was just a half-assed storm, I’m reserving my judgement.) but to be honest, that’s not the really cool thing about it.
Its got this fun wire running through the hood that allows you to shape it into a tunnel to peek out of during a windy day…but, no, that’s not the really awesome thing.
Its apparently filled with goose down, and I praise the birds that presumably sacrificed themselves to make my life more comfortable every day. But that’s not the best part either.
The coolest part?
I don’t know about your parka, but mine has these amazing pockets in front that can hold books. Books! And not just softcovers, either. I can comfortably pack two new, large hardcover novels into my coat pockets in the supreme confidence that they shall arrive at my destination safe and sound, ready for me to delve into and forget the mundane universe around me. Suck on that, old coat.
So there you have it. By now, everyone reading this must be realizing they should move to Baker Lake so they can have an excuse to own a parka just like mine. I fully endorse this plan. Because I heart my parka.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The day after the blizzard, while areas were still digging out from all the snow drifts, we bundled up after dinner and went down to the community hall here in town for our H1N1 vaccines. We figured that one medivac experience was enough.
We survived the vaccines too, although we're both feeling a bit achy in our H1N1 arm (up here we got our seasonal flu vaccine at the same time, just in the other arm). We took full advantage of the day off for Rememberance Day to rest up.
For the days ahead we're looking forward to our next food-mail order. We called the airport today only to find out that the trip in had been cancelled...so no foodmail tonight! Fortunately we're well stocked for most stuff and not desperate for anything yet (except eggs...help!).
Keeping our fingers crossed for a delivery tomorrow!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
It made me wonder what we should expect weatherwise, so I went online to find out, and this is what greated me:
Weather Warning: Blizzard Warning for Baker Lake.
Yup. Uh huh!
Goes on to say:
Blizzard warning: Baker Lake Issued at 8:26 PM CST SUNDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2009
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED ON MONDAY. THIS IS A WARNING THAT BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE IMMINENT OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.
Okay, thanks Environment Canada. So, is it weird that I'm actually looking forward to seeing an actual blizzard?? We'll let you know how we make out!
Monday, November 2, 2009
These are comprised over a couple weeks, but should give you a decent idea of why we do things like foodmail and sealifts!
We're taking orders and can bring home these amazing deals at Christmas when we come! Who wants some Campbells Tomato Soup at the low low price of $5.49/can?! Why order take out when you can get Kraft Delissio Pizza's for $23.99??
Saturday, October 31, 2009
There weren't many pumpkins available at the Northern, and none left by the time I'd decided to splurge on one. But I love carving my Jack O'lanterns, and I wasn't going to be denied by a little thing like not having a pumpkin!
So meet my newest creations:
We'll call them Box O'lanterns..... OR Jack O'Boxes!!
I got several compliments from the kids on my 'boxes'. he he. And it kept me amused for an entire afternoon.
It was fairly cold up here on this Hallowe'en night, but the kids were out in droves. We were out of treats fairly early! The most popular costume was simly face paint ~ can't blame the kids, not all kids costumes fit overtop of your parka and snow pants. And a mask is difficult to wear with a scarf and touque! We did have a couple of Batmans, a butterfly, and a scary serial killer. Kids rode around town on snowmobiles, ATVs and in trucks.
I was dressed as a scary arctic witch. ("Arctic witch" because what other kinda witch wears mits and a parka to hand out candies??!)
So Happy Hallowe'en from the great white north! We hope yours was as much fun as ours!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
It's darn cold.
We're talking minus 16 celcius, with a windchill at minus 28, and it's only October!
I hope the kiddies made their Halloween costumes large enough to fit over their parkies!
Edited to add: Just how cold is it?? Our lock froze tonite! 'He' was home from work first and had to wait in the cold for 20 minutes before I got home. We tried lock deicer and ended up having to get one of my contractors to come and use a blow torch to unfreeze the lock! Yikes.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
After getting over the sticker shock (it's almost $5K to fly home) we managed to book our flights.
We're coming home on the 17th, we'll get into Toronto later at night. And we're leaving right after Christmas. Remember that we'll be home again in February for the nuptuals.
We're making a schedule and checking it twice, so make sure you speak up if you want to see us!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Initally, we'd honestly say it all had to do with his career. It was also our chance to do something wild and adventurous.
What we didn't expect was how much we'd enjoy the experience.
It's quiet moments on our 'mountain' or at the lake, or even just standing under the zillion stars.
It's the local kids who always want to stop and chat. They're so curious about our lives, and Squire. The other night, after I stopped to let them hold onto Squire's leash and take her for a walk, three young girls out of a large group even gave me a hug!
And with the current snowy weather, it's been a riot watching Squire nosedive into snowbanks and attempt to catch bunnies.
So while we came up here for his career, it's certainly been more rewarding that we ever thought.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Honestly, none of it actually stayed on the ground, so I don't know for sure that we'll have a white Thanksgiving, but I'd bet quite a bit on a white Hallowe'en.
Lately I've been trying to pick up the local lingo. I can now have the following theoretical and pointless conversation:
Me: Good morning!
Someone: Good morning. How are you?
Me: I'm good, thanks, how are you?
Of course any time I have this conversation its because someone is indulging me with the seven or so words I've learned so far. The nice thing is that the folks at work are having fun teaching me new words when I ask.
I've found a lot of people have a great sense of humour in Baker Lake. People seem to love laughing here. For instance, the first word I learned was "good morning", or "u'bla'kut" (spelled more or less phonetically). The thing is, if I mis-pronounce it, I'm actually saying "spread your legs". The women at work got a kick out of explaining that to me. So, suffice to say I'm pretty careful about my enunciation there.
Speaking of amusing translations, apparently "its cold" (again phonetically) is "icky". I said its the same thing in English.
Quick list of interesting and amusing things going on these days:
- We've gone nearly a month without grocery shopping. Its amazing what you can do with a freezer and high food prices.
- The house across the street perpetually has a bicycle on the roof. I have no idea why.
- I think there may be more dogs in Baker Lake than people.
- The children here are never afraid of strangers, only strange dogs.
- Since we've been here (eight weeks) we've had 3 water outtages, 2 water-heater failures, 1 satellite dish failure (on Leafs opening night!) , the local water-pumping house has broken down (forcing us to conserve, which we did comfortably) , 1 furnace failure, and if you don't flush the toilets just right, those sometimes fail too. Just part of the fun though :)
Things we're looking forward to soon:
- Figuring out how to get Internet access on MY computer (instead of just her laptop...the trials I've been going through with wireless ethernet cards and my operating system are epic-worthy)
- Getting our Sobey's sealift bulk shipment...presumably in the next week or two.
- Finalizing our plans for our Christmas trip back south.
- Foodmail grocery order tomorrow! (I'm out of tea...help!)
- Learning how to make mash-potato-stuffing (if you don't know what I mean, don't ask. If you do, send us the recipe so we can survive Thanksgiving!)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
However, the locals have been saying that September is fall here, to expect snow at any time during September, and that winter starts officially in October.
So, September 22, 2009, first day of fall, is our first day with any kind of accumulated snow.
I went out with Squire this morning, and thought 'wow, that's a pretty heavy frost'. As I'm standing there while she finds the perfect pee spot, I thought to my self 'hmmm, that frost is falling in an awful snowlike fashion....'
It's not a lot of snow, I don't even know whether you can tell in pictures (I'll try to post them at lunch break.) But teeny tiny flakes are still flitting past my window here at work.
First day of fall up here feels an awful lot like the first day of winter.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
There are lots of really interesting local plants. This little plant goes up the side of Mount Baker Lake, and the whole sections of the side of the hill are red right now with colour. Although we won't see the leaves changing colour, there are definite changes in the foliage up here too.
Oftentimes, the moon is really pretty up here. OH! And we saw northern lights the other night for the first time. I took a picture of that too, but um, well, it's just a black sky in the photograph. I'll have to play with settings to see if we can't get some good shots.
So it wasn't quite Santa Claus (although there were times we thought about enlisting his help... how busy could he and the team be? It is only September...) but it was still kinda like Christmas morning when we finally got our stuff. About 50 boxes came the first day, and another 40 or so the next. Glad to say that everything made it up ok ('he''s computer fan is slightly damaged but still functional), and we're really enjoying having the ammenities of home. Never thought I'd miss a slow cooker, our books, and my shoes so much.
It's always really picturesque up there, no matter the weather. There's a well kept trail that runs up the back side (the local kids climb up the face) that's great for jogging up. You can pretty much see the entire town from up there, including the airport and the hill behind it.
A bit of Baker Lake perspective... the big blue building on the right side of the photo is his office, on the north edge of town. Our house is on the road in the centerish of the photo. Oh, my office is on the exact opposite side of the mountain from our house/his office.....
An example of the difference in culture up here:
#1. Dogs as pets are super cool. So are you if you have one. Kids come running from miles around, and will follow you around town for hours, just to hang out with your dog. Without fail, the first question is "does it bite?" almost always followed by "what's the name?" Kids up here may not be too sure on child vs car etiquette, but they are certain of child vs strange dog etiquette.
#2. Strangers aren't scary. Kids have *no* fear of strangers. They are extremely friendly, and very willing to share their name, where they live, and all that other personal information that kids back south are taught never to share.
Anyway, these two local boys followed us up the hill, and then asked to play fetch with Squire.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Me and Squire down by the lake on our first weekend here. It’s become a bit of a family tradition to go for a walk on the weekend, pick up coffees, and take Squire swimming. The bravest I’ve been is to dip my toes in, but Squire doesn’t seem to have any problems with the temperature.
Early one morning, this was our local welcoming committee. He kinda just sat there and let me do a whole photo shoot. According to our co-workers, we’ll have to have the camera handy when it’s the caribou’s turn to be the visitors.
The kitchen at our new place. I can’t wait to get all our handy utensils and appliances so I can really cook up a storm… although, even with meagre supplies we’ve managed cookies, and scalloped potatoes, and even a curry!
The living area is nice and big – and we get so much nice sunlight that it really warms up the place during the day. I can’t wait to make it feel so much more homey.
This is Squire’s favourite swimming spot, since it’s almost beachy. It’s pretty shallow and perfect for fetch with the ball. It’s tucked away behind the Northern (the local grocery store) so it’s perfect for picking up coffees.
Another beautiful day in Baker Lake. We try to make it a priority to enjoy the gorgeous weather while we have it. Rumour is that we can expect snow flurries as early as September.
We are finally getting settled in our ‘permanent’ home, as the house that was originally supposed to be home may be used for another purpose. We’re happy with the new place, as it is all over homier and suits our lifestyle better. Squire likes that there is carpet in the bedrooms – sleeping on laminate wasn’t her favourite. It also has a super dooper long soaker tub, which I’ll be enjoying on a regular basis.
It hasn’t been without its difficulties though, the way things are done up here are a bit foreign to us. For example, there has been an ongoing parade of repairmen through the house – first because we had no heat, and then no hot water, and (as I sit and write this) now we have no water at all. Water and sewage are held in tanks at ones’ house (water delivery and sewage pump out is via truck based on a schedule). Apparently an account wasn’t set up and we were cut off… it’s difficult to comprehend how much you depend on running water until you live without it for half a day. In any event, I have been assured that we are on the list for delivery today. Because we had our phone line connected prior to coming up here, it was set up at the home we thought we’d be going to. Streets aren’t officially named here, and there is no municipal number system like what exists in the south. I was on the phone for almost an hour with Northwestel to get the phone line moved two doors down. I kinda hope that we don’t ever have to move across the territory.
Prescriptions work vastly different up here as well. As the patient, you really don’t ever handle your prescription. It floats from health clinic to doctor, back to health clinic, to the pharmacy in Rankin Inlet… who’ll call you to get payment information prior to processing your meds. Then they’ll put it on a shipment (via plane) back to Baker Lake, where you pick it up from the kind people at the Health Centre. The whole process can take as long as a week, as the pharmacy in Rankin is closed over the weekend. As a side note, we’ve found the people at the clinic to be very helpful – from the first day when he was medi-vac’d, to his follow up appointments, to late-night “please make the pain stop” visits.
The last, and maybe most saddening, stumbling block is that our personal effects are still sitting at Canadian North’s terminal in Ottawa. In the three weeks our stuff has been in Ottawa, it hasn’t moved except to be bundled together for delivery. I’m on a first name basis with the people at Canadian North, since I call almost daily – we just keep getting bumped for more ‘important’ cargo. It’s extremely frustrating because we’re looking forward to different items of clothing, and being able to set up house. Oh, and of course, we sent a bunch of food items for us and the pets, and paying $25 for 4kg of cat litter (a small bag) gets pretty old pretty fast.
All that said, we are enjoying our time up here, and we are starting to get into a routine. There are a lot of positives (which we’ll go into shortly), but we needed to give some rant-time to the obstacles that needed overcoming!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The days since our last post have been nuts. Don't even know where to start.
Last night we got our first Food Mail delivery. Huzzah! Real food finally. We had steak and corn and potatoes and it felt like thanksgiving. To commemerate the event, we ate at a table rather than on a couch as per our lazy norm.
Our current debates are covering whether its cheaper to get our food via Food Mail our in bulk on our Sea Lift. Both are pricey but still cheaper than buying groceries at the local Northern grocery store. So we're polling our newfound friends who have done all this before.
Our cargo from Bowmanville still hasn't arrived. Its not "late" yet, but when we try to contact the shipping company they're not particularly helpful because we don't have a bill of lading. My company is trying to help straighten it out. Hopefully we'll know more soon, but being the paranoid person that I am I'm starting to come up with all kinds of ideas of what could possibly go wrong.
As some of you may already know, I've done some pretty detailed research on the medical facilities here. Specifically, on my first day of work I ended up getting med-evac'd to Winnipeg with chest pains. Diagnosis: pericarditis. Turns out my sister has had the same thing, so if you're not in the know, she can endorse my summary of pericarditis: it sucks. 'Nuff said.
Funny local story of the week: couple of days ago I was walking the dog up near a bluff where you get an amazing view of the lake and town. There were a bunch of kids nearby, and they came running up to check us out (the local kids ALWAYS run up to check you out here). But they said they didn't want to get to close because they had "blood" on them. I asked why they had blood on them.
As it turns out, they had found a ptarmagan (took me forever to find that in wikipedia, phonetically), killed it with a rock (ptarmagan's are notoriously placid...kids 1, Darwin 0), de-feathered it, dismantled it, and ate the thing's heart and liver raw. The one kid actually still had blood on his mouth.
Which just goes to show that the debate of FoodMail vs Sea List is really a silly discussion when the locals already know the cheapest sources of food.
Time to get back to the office, and I have no clue when we're going to get our permanent internet connection so it might be a while before next post.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I watched the news for a few minutes this morning; that little CP24 bit where they tell you “This day in history”? Turns out this is the anniversary of Maple Leafs Garden closing business. That’s kinda sad. Oh, and it’s the day they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.
The moving guys are here. I’m feeling super pumped and ready to jump right in there and get this project moving along! Ok, that’s a lie. The fact I’m writing this while 'she' tells six people what’s going to what province should give you a rough idea of how motivated I am right now. My glorious achievement this morning was getting the cats into the bathroom, followed closely by getting a battery-operated lawn-mower into the backseat of the Elantra. (By the way, if you’ve never lifted a battery-operated lawn-mower, don’t as you value your back.)
So far the moving guys seem all around cool. The leader of the operation told 'she' not to panic. Points to them. He’s a horse person as it turns out and did dressage at the same venues as 'she'; now they’re getting along famously, talking about mutual acquaintances, and I wonder if she’s thinking “This guy should be lifting stuff instead of talking to me.”
I won’t even bother explaining what a day this was. Suffice to say my brain would have exploded if it weren’t for Krista, my mom and the moving guys actually doing the lifting. We are really, really fortunate to have an amazing support system of family and friends and I can’t even imagine this being possible without them.
By the way, mental note for “next time” (??): Sell off as much junk as possible and THEN move.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
An unusual female-only species belonging to genus Stresszillae.
The stressosaurus originates in the Mitchell, Ontario area and inhabits various parts of Canada. It differs from others of the Stresszillae genus particularly by its curious predilection for migrating to habitats beginning with the letter “B” (e.g. Bracebridge, Barrie, Bowmanville, Baker Lake, etc) combined with a strong instinctive drive to occasionally return to its place of origin.
The stressosaurus has an uncommonly strong anxiety tolerance which contrasts interestingly with an uncontrollable weep reflex when in proximity to another weeping female member of the herd. This is a curious phenomenon as it is not firmly established what might initially trigger one female of the herd to begin weeping. (The pursuant chain reactive effect on the other hand is extremely reproducible and well documented.)
The stressosaurus will frequently seek and adopt a less sophisticated animal (typically of species canis lupus familiaris) into the family pack. Interestingly, this adopted member will often be afforded rank privileges typically reserved for other members of the pack, and is in fact often assigned status equal to or greater than that of the mate (e.g sleeping place, feeding priority, etc). This new de facto alpha member will consume large quantities of food resources and research continues to explain how the pack actually benefits from its presence.
The stressosaurus prefers chocolate and icecream during times of abundance, but will also combine peanut-butter with bananas when food resources are scarce. Note that the adopted member of the family will rarely suffer during lean years; it is common for the adoptee to feed with the stressosaurus while the mate fends for himself.
Hypothetical rendition of a stressosaurus reacting to Air Canada saying the adopted member of the pack cannot migrate with the family:
(illustration coming soon)
For more information, watch Godzilla or any other movie where a creature terrorizes some poor unsuspecting city.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
We were glad to see everyone who was able to make it out on a long weekend on short notice, missed the people who weren't able to make it. The love and support from family and friends is what makes this whole adventure possible. We really honestly couldn't the move without it.
I attached a photo of our impromptu fashion show. The whole family got decked out in their arctic gear. I *have* to mention how very very warm it was to be wearing these coats in Ontario in the summer. Hopefully they are equally warm in Nunavut this winter.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Hopefully at least one more post before we take off.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Ok, it seems like this is working. Good. 'Cause it's late and it's soon time to go to bed.
We thought we'd do a blog so that anyone who wants to keep up-to-date on our adventures, trials, experiences, exploits, feats, and occurrences. It'll make it easy for us to share our new life with all of you back south of 60.
Maybe on top of being a vehicle to keep in touch, we'll also be able to help anyone else contemplating or preparing for a move to Nunavut.
Oh, and I should add... the title of the blog... *he* came up with it! Cause he's thinking (even though we bought parkas) that it's going to be easy to freeze up here.