Sunday, August 30, 2009

photos galore

Stories are all well and good, but we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. So it’s time to share a bunch of photos from our first almost-month up here!

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.

~ she


We’ve been up here for three weeks now, and must apologize as our internet connections are sketchy, borrowed (and sometimes stolen), and therefore blog posts are few and far between. We’ve been loaned a modem for the weekend, and I wanted to take the opportunity to fill everyone in.

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!

~ she

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Really quick...

Cuz I have about 10 minutes before I have to return our loaner internet connection...

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 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

final ontario post

'he' actually found this comic and presented it to me to as evidence as to why it's a good thing he wasn't helping with more of the preparations.
He didn't need to do that. He was extremely helpful and reassuring and understanding and fun. A great shoulder to cry on. A fantastic rant listener-to-person. A wonderful resource of ideas and solutions.
While we couldn't do this move without the support of our family and friends (and our deepest heartfelt thanks again to each and every one of you), we couldn't even contemplate it without being stronger together than we are apart. We know each other's quirks and keep each other sane.
At the end of the day, as long as we (he, she, squire, knight and page) all get to Nunavut in one piece, together, with our health and wits about us, we'll be ok.
I'm not too sure when the next post will come, as we weren't able to arrange for internet service yet, but we'll post an update right away.
~ she

Thursday, August 6, 2009

moving day

Well the big day has arrived.

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.”

Moving on.

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


Stressosaurus [ stress-o-saurus ] – noun

An unusual female-only species belonging to genus Stresszillae.

Notable Characteristics
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.

~ he

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

leaving on a jet plane party

We wanted to make it easy to meet with a whole group of people (family and friends) to say goodbye in one big emotional shot!

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.

~ she

Sunday, August 2, 2009

countdown to departure

So, status update #1: Its coming down to the wire. Our last day in "civilization" is this Friday. T-minus 5 days and counting. Tomorrow we have an official farewell shindig for some of the people we probably wouldn't get a chance to visit before we depart; we'll just have to make do with last minute visits to get the rest and apologize profusely to everyone we miss...sorry in advance!

Hopefully at least one more post before we take off.