Friday, April 27, 2007

Ok, so we have a hospital.

Down our street and around the bend.
Our new little house, good thing this is a temp location this is a small house.
Over the bay towards the Co-op hotel.
Hide and seek, move in style

Hello Everyone,
when we moved here we assumed that having a hospital in town would lead to a increase in medical services available. As usual assumptions made in the part of the world are wrong. In the town's were we had a nursing station you could go to the clinic 9-5 and get help, after hours you'd call the on duty nurse for emergencies. Now that we are in a town with a hospital the clinic hours are usually 1-4 monday to Friday. Strange, but I'm sure having a resident doctor has its advantages, and I'm sure like all medical staff up here, the people working at the hospital are doing everything they can with what they have. For the last 5 weeks I've had a toothache and it seems that next Thursday someone will be able to do something about it as I have a appointment with the dentist this day.
we start inventory on sunday so hopefully we can get that put to bed before my appointment.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My computer has arrived

My son has a habit of aiming for his opponent in any race, while this may work for the Earnhart's, it also means Daddies has to move fast. Melissa advises you click on this one to really appreciate the moves.

A brief interruption in sledding for a local going hunting.
Once again, aiming for daddy seems to be a recurring theme in Christopher's sledding experience. This one lead me to ask, why did we get him a sled with a steering wheel?
Gettin' ready to run Dad down.
Locals sledding without the hill on their qumatiq.
Daddy trying to ski on a board without binding's.
The 305th trip up the hill dragging Christopher's sled.

Hello everyone,
Good News, I'm back... somewhat. Its seems a backup drive is a very important piece of equipment. Regular back-ups are essential to ensure that when catastrophe rears its ugly head you can save all the work you've invested in work and your computer. Oh yeah, one other thing, remember to pack the damn thing when you move or your up the creek without a paddle. The drive has disappeared off the face of the planet, I didn't pack it, Melissa didn't pack it and it isn't back at Kangiqsujuaq. These photo's are of this afternoons fun. I love actually getting days off, you can actually do things other than work.
Take Care

Sunday, April 22, 2007

First Week In POV

Hello everyone,
Still no photo's as we're waiting for 2 things. 1st, my new computer to arrive so I can save the photo's I currently have collected (about 4,500 of them to date), and second for our unpacking to reach the point where we find my back-up drive. So for now we have to survive with the written word.
The community sits just north of 60, and is on the coast of the Hudson's Bay. I have no idea how long the community has been here yet but as I get info I'll pass it along. The town has about 1200 souls according to census, so its about 4 times the size of Kangiqsujuaq and almost the size of Baker Lake. The main shopping store in town in the Co-Op, as they own most of the northern quebec markets. Our store is approx 5,000 sq ft (by my guess) and is about three times the size of the Kang store. The Co-op is probably about 15,000 sq ft. There are two hotels in town (that I've found), and all the usual facilities including a actual hospital. There are also 2 restaurants (Ok, one is in the Co-op (which we apparently can't go into, due to working for Northern, which is actually fine, ) The other is a coffee shop that I await to hear from Melissa as to how it is.
The house we have moved into is a small two bedroom, which has really forced us into some strange situations due to the number of boxes occupying valuable space.
Ok thats all I have time for this evening,
Take Care

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Stage 2 Kuujjuaq to Purivrituq

Hello everyone,
Ok, So we're stuck with a enthusiastic 4 year old in a strange town, in a strange airport,and we've been up and travelling for 6 hours when we arrive. Now I forgot to mention one thing, we had left all our travel food on the dryer in Kangiqsujuaq. We also only had about $6.00 in change, and you won't find any change machines in the Kuujuaq Airport. Christopher was pushing all the limits he could find and Mom and Dad were ready to crack (OK, Mom had already cracked).We were to leave Kuujuaq at 2:15p and had high hopes that for some reason the flight may be pushed forward in a attempt to get us and our son out of the airport... wishful thinking. 2:15 came and went, 2:30, 2:45, 3:00, 3:15 finally we have a commitment, we'll be leaving in half a hour according to the same surly ticket agent who also explained to us the definition of confirmed 4 months ago. Now after three hours Dad was on the edge, So Mom gave me some relief and took Christopher out side to play for a few minutes. About 5 minutes later we were asked to board the plane... Ok this is what happened, I stood up and walked 5 feet to the door and told Melissa and Christopher to come quickly. I walked back to our stuff and put on my jacket and picked up our bags, I walked back to the door and asked them to move it. I then walked the 15 feet to the gate to find it locked, and no one to be found. This is less than 2 minutes after the call. The ticket agent grudgingly came back to the gate and was about to give me a lecture on being on time, until he saw the look in my eye I imagine that this look might be the same one that the condemned see as the noose is being applied. So we walk out to our plane.
One of the fears pet owners who travel, is that your pets won't make the flight and be left somewhere without care. For us this wasn't a concern as we realized as we entered the plane that our animals had made this connection. We realized this swiftly due to the fact there were two crates strapped to the floor inside the cabin. It seems the next leg of our journey would be on the twin otter, anyone travelling in the north gets shivers when this realization is made. We had never been on one, but I had heard stories. There were 8 people on this plane, two pilots, three passenger and us. The seating resembled something similar to the seats on a school bus from the early sixties. two on one side of the plane and a single on the other side. The double seat on the one side of the plane was large enough for couple of 90 lbs debutante lesbians to be very comfortable in. For a "large boned" lady and her son it looked to be very awkward. My seat on the other hand was about a foot wide, which wasn't too bad, my problem came from the fact that the cabin was only about 4 1/2 feet tall meaning the curvature of the airplane left me sitting on a angle to avoid putting my head through the side of the plane.
Now, I know of a comedian who did a skit about small planes but for those unfamiliar with this I can assure you he was speaking of the Twin Otter. Before the engines started the pilot turned around and asked us to fasten out seat belts, no intercom, no safety lecture, he turned around and asked us to fasten our seat belts, in a plane of this size I was sure I could smell what he had for lunch as he turned to confirm to us of this wonderful piece of advise. Then the engines started, which you not so much heard as felt (the equivalent for sitting inside the speaker at a Motorhead concert), it was obvious that the pleasantries of conversation could be alleviated on this leg of the journey. Now cruising altitude for this plane seemed to be about 30 feet (I'm sure we were at 1000 feet, but it was most definitely not a perspective we were not used to from a plane. You also had the distinct feeling that if we met any other air traffic up there the pilot would lean out the window and wave the oncoming plane around. There is something mildly disarming about watching your pilot do his job (the cockpit didn't have a door), I felt it was my obligation to watch very carefully in case something happened, in a plane of this size you definitely realize your all in this together and since I wasn't able to see the parachutes I wanted to see what he was doing. I have some wonderful pictures of this however since my computer bit the dust I cannot retrieve them until I find my backup drives in our luggage. One other interesting piece of information about the Twin Otter is that the cabin isn't pressurized, I know this due to the fact that I could see out the cracks around the emergency exit door, there was at least a quarter inch of free space around the bottom of the door. The fact that the wind freely blew through these cracks just emphasised the fact that if the plane did have a heater, it was of the type that was designed to heat itself and anything else that actually received residual heat should consider itself lucky.

After three hours in the air (and on one of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever been on we arrived... not where we expected but in Inujuaq, where we had to assist with a medical evac to Puvirnituq. I mention this as the look on Melissa's face when I told her it wasn't POV but somewhere else was too disinheriting to imagine. Did we discuss food service on this flight, the attendants name was Beatrice, or at least that was the name on the milk crate that contained a few cans of pop and some cookies that was tucked under one of the back seats. This was after 14 hours of no food for my wife and child (Myself, I don't mind stretches without food). After twenty minutes we re boarded the plane to set off for POV, Did I mention at the airport we met a gentleman I had kicked out of my store in Kangisujuaq for theft (I told you the north was a small place, we traveled 1200 km and still saw familiar faces). We arrived in POV 3 hours late, with no one to meet us and long story shorter, we are safe and sound and fed at this moment.
Take Care
P.S. pictures still to come.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Stage 1 Kangiqsujuaq To Kuujjuaq

Hello Everyone,
Well , long story short, We have arrived in Puvirnituq intact and hopefully our stuff will arrive soon. Lets start at the beginning. .Ok, we may have to delay this posting, My laptop has gone kaboom. So I can still do some posts but photo's are gone for now.
We arrived at the airport at 8:20 am as requested by the air inuit agent to check in our stuff. We arrived, the agent was no where to be found. It seems she had forgotten her keys and went back home so 30 minutes later she showed up for work. Not a great start to our journey, however other than leaving 15 minutes late nothing seemed out of place for northern travel. The next stop on the run was Quataq, who's ticket agent also failed to show up for work so we lost another 20 minutes there.
3 more stops and we arrived safe and sound in Kujjuaq. This is the same airport that on the way up seemed to be conspiring against us at every turn. This was not a place we have fond memories of and it seemed to trigger the worst in our darling son, who was unable to occupy 2 minutes in time without breaking one of the rules we had set for him. Our layover here was supposed to be 2 hours and 15 minutes. That's not long... heck its only as long as a movie, right. I'm sure to everyone who passed through that airport in the next 3 and half hours heard the name Christopher too many times to forget. On a side note, when the plane from Montreal arrived I recognized the owner of the blog "Open Head Space". It was a interesting chance encounter and started me to thinking about the vast spaces of the north, and yet the small community it really contains. Now with the new community we will have met 1500 people in the territory most of which we know or will know by first name within the next few months. That in a territory of approx 15,000 people. That means overall we'll be familiar with approx 10% of the population of a area the size of France, and yet you can meet someone in a airport and find commonalities to pleasantly occupy a few minutes in a area of limbo for both of us. I first started thinking about this on the plane down to Kuujuaq where the seat in front of me was occupied by a long time dentist of the north, many people were asking him how's so and so, hows my brother etc. and it seemed every name mentioned was familiar to him. The large territory is defined by its names and sense of community.

Friday, April 06, 2007

One Week to Go...

Hello Everyone,
Well, we've been really busy at the store getting it ready for turnover and getting ready to move, We have 7 days left until we leave to Purirnituq on Friday the 13th. Its very hectic but today Christopher and I went for a drive around town and too some photo's of what we saw. Time is slipping away very fast, but we can only do what we can and then move on and hope for the best. The weather hasn't been going along with our plans as the freight situation is very poor and the shelves show it. Melissa is getting over her case of the Shingles and is about 70% of her usual self, and remarkably she was the only one who got sick, normally once one of us goes down, all of us start to fall like flies.
The town seems to be winding down for the rest of winter, the hockey tournaments in town are done, the weather has been warming up (leading to more snow) and people are staring to head out on the land more often.
I hoped to get out and witness the locals gathering mussel's in the area however now it seems that that won't be possible. On a day of a full moon or New moon at low tide they go out to the coast line a few miles away from town, they break a hole in the ice and drop below the ice with headlights and gather the mussel's from the bay bottom. Below this level of ice there is very little light and it can be dangerous as when the tide starts to rise you must be able to get back to the hole quickly. which from what I understand has lead to tragedy in the past. This practice is unique to the people of this area.
Take Care