Monday, October 31, 2005

Other things.

Good night.
P.S. I guess the picture has nothing to do with anything but I like it :)

Halloween in Baker

Hello everyone and Happy Halloween,
Well today I thought I should enquire about Halloween in Baker. I was a little shocked last year Allan (the current store manager here) and Rod both claimed to have have over 3oo visitors on this eve. They both bought over a hundred dollars in candy ( in northern terms that is about 400 mini bags of chips. They advised that we should expect around 200. We ended up buying 7 cases of mini chips (245 bags). When I left work at 6:30 I was shocked. It was like a parade on the main strip, there were literally around 100 ATV's taking kids house to house, I've never seen that many people on the streets here. Let me stop at this point and tell you about our house, we are away from everyone else, the nearest house is about a quater of a mile away. Regardless, I went home expected to have to wait behind troves of trick or treaters to enter my house... There was no one. Ok, so they are a little late getting to our house at least I can get in safely without being mobbed. Safely home I quickly moved the chips closer to the door so there wouldn't be a riot as I went to get another box. Now all set, we awaited the onslaught of kids and adults alike..... at 8:00 I switched off the light and went to the bedroom, we gave out 10 bags of chips and we ate about a dozen. Anyone want some chips?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Our house

This is our house from a few angles, one from the side showing the side of the store and the long journey I have to make to get to work everyday, the commute is killer. The other two are from the front of the house near the shore. Notice the angle of the satelite dish, little different from Ontario, when we first arrived and I saw my first one I thought it was broken, it wasn't till I saw all of them facing down I realized the problem.

Hotel and Competition

This is Christopher in the playground. In the Background you can see two round buildings, they are linked together and are the Iglu Hotel. To the right of them is the local Co-op (the two story brown buiding) our competition, the have about 15-20% of the local business.

Mural in the high school

This is a mural in the wall of the atruim of the high school.

Parking Lot

This is Christopher crossing the parking lot beside the arena. In the background on top of the hill is the highschool. The round building is the catholic church in town which must be having a event due to the number of ATV's in front of it.

Sunset from our front window

This is a sunset from our living room, we tend to have alot of red in sunsets up here.

Around town and our house

These are just a few photo's Melissa took around town.
This one is in the cemetary, the grave to the forefront is the recent elder that passed on. The distortions are the wreaths that were placed on the grave.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

For the Grandparents

Photo from tonights bed time.

A Long Week

Hello Everyone,
Well I wasn't able to update all week due to a problem with my modem. I fixed it this evening so here's the update. For those who have been asking here's some basic info on our store and activities this week. Our sales floor is 19,000 sq feet (Tillsonburg Wal-mart is 52,000 sales floor and Kitchener fairview is about 78,000). We have about 58,000 feet of warehouse. This is due to the fact our store was rebuilt about 5 years ago and they attached the new store to the old store. We use the old store as a warehouse. Most of our hardgoods are flown in to the store twice a week in a old DC3 . Foodstuffs with long expiry dates such as canned goods, paper goods etc. come in via barge in the summer. We order for the barge in January review the orders in Febuary. In July a ship is loaded in Montreal with our order as well as a couple of our other stores. It sails up the St Lawrence around Newfoundland and into the Hudsons Bay. It is then unloaded in shipping containers to a barge that is brought up the river from chesterfield inlet to our store. We then unload the barge with forklifts and place the containers around the store by various entrance near where the product will be stored till needed. We then manually unload all the trailers, the trick to this is you have only 48 hours to unload approx 39,000 lbs of goods. All the male empolyees and whatever locals we can hire line up and we essentially us a fire brigade line-up to pull all the products into the store and sort them to storage locations. During this period we worked 18 hour days and took 47 hours to do it this year. Goods brought in on the Barge (sealift) cost approx .80 cents to reach the store, this is why we bring as much as we can in this way.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

More Ice Time

A couple of pics from this afternoon with the locals. The sled is a Kamik, the stick is to break the ice, the dog was for pulling the kamik and the honda's for fun (this guy didn't trust the Honda to the ice yet)

The store

Here are some assorted photo's of the store. We sell everything from propane, trucks, snowmobiles, ATV's fresh food, clothing, appliances, furniture, etc. The stores closed when I took these so you can't see inside the coolers.

Ice fishing

Well the ice has only been here for 6 days and these people have already started to ice fish apparently the ice is only 3 inches thick so far. Eventually it will be 6 feet thick. There is a close up of the closest people and a overview from our porch. The weather is nice its -4 right now and no wind which makes it a great day. The other photo is Mommy and christopher reading a book.

Good Morning

Good morning anyone,
I've begun posting pictures here so check often as updates will be frequent until I get caught up. Its a beautiful day and another weekend off. Its -4 and very sunny with no wind. People have started ice fishing, the ice has only been on the lake 6 days.
Take care

A view from the airport. The store and our house are near the center of the photo with the red roofs.

Friday, October 21, 2005

This is our water treatment plant

Allan Christopher and I at the old Hudsons Bay Store

Christopher and I walking to Hotel

On our Way

Southern View

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The meeting

That morning the only thing that went right was the five minute trip to Home Office (five minutes if you had a severe limp). I left the hotel early thinking I'd have to wander a bit and get my bearing to figure out where the office was... wrong, it was 100 feet away with a nice big sign. This made me happy. I sat outside in the sunshine and read, which was also good. I had five interviews that day and they all seemed to go better than the last. No one wanted to talk about business or skills, they wanted to talk about their families and my family. We talked about the north and all their experiences there. many of the people I met had what would be considered very challenged careers by southern Ontario standards. They were constantly being promoted and demoted and moved around. these weren't just people, they were directors and vice presidents, becoming stock boys and dept managers. When I thought I had the solution I asked a 30 year veteran who had been working stock in Yellowknife 2 years before. I was right, he became a stock boy because he wanted to, he was tired of the pressure and asked the VP to send him to a store for a couple of years, he spent 2 years in Yellowknife then asked to come back and was given a promotion and brought back. This wasn't anything I'd ever encountered before, but I liked it. When I walked out the doors at 2:30 I knew I was going to work for this company.

You can't get here from there

I guess this all started at Wal-Mart, when certain people did their best to ensure I knew where I was and where I wasn't going. From there we had to make some decisions on how to get what we need to be happy as a family. We had been in Tillsonburg for 2 years and despite the couple of friends we made there, overall we weren't happy either financially of personally, Once it became clear at work that the setbacks were greater than possibilities the search began. I searched the web for positions in my field where I could get out of the box before it was too late. At one point the Beer store looked good then it was Futureshop (which evaporated without explanation), the we were invited to a meeting with a company called The North West company, who would be holding a info session in Kitchener. Around the beginning of June we went and were introduced to this company and the challenges we had never imagined. Oddly enough we both left that meeting thinking this could be our chance...

The Call

We spent June waiting for a phone call which never came. On the July long weekend we had some wonderful people over for Canada day celebrations and exciting discussions of the "what if?" nature regarding the future. So I continue plugging away at work without any interest or passion anymore. I finally received the call around July 10 to go to Winnipeg on the 13th for 24 hours. It was a very bad trip. My flight out of London to Pearson went well and arrived on time with no real problems, I only took one bag a carry on to eliminate problems with luggage. I was supposed to have a 1.5 hour layover at pearson and we got on the plane on time. The plane then sat on the tarmac for the next hour till weather cleared over Winnipeg. I was supposed to arrive @ 9:45 pm I arrived sometime after 11:00 where my limo was supposed to be waiting to take me to my hotel. There was no Limo. I had no hotel info and $20 in my wallet with my debt card at home. All I kept thinking is this is some sort of test. I started talking to locals to find out which hotels would be located walking distance to Northwest's home office (on the phone I was told the hotel was 5 minutes away). No one knew of downtown hotels or the location of the North West company. So I picked up a phone book and started calling to see if anyone had a reservation under my name. I found a hotel called the Fort Garry that had my reservations. Next I started calling Limo companies to find out who was supposed to pick me up, this search failed. I hailed a cab, clenched $20 tightly in my hand and propared to leap from the cab the moment I hit $20 on the meter. I made it to the hotel OK, I don't know what route or how long it took but I can assure you it cost $16.90 to get from the airport to the fort Garry at 1:00 in the morning. I had been told that all my expenses at the hotel were covered so that wouldn't be a problem, until I actually got there. They did have the room paid for but that was it, it had been 18 hours since I ate and I was getting room service one way or another. At this point my patience was wearing thin. I told them I'd settle up in th morning and to send me a big steak and a couple of cokes. I was exhausted, annoyed, disoriented and ready to punch kittens. The hotel was a very nice traditional hotel in the style of the Royal York. I ate spent 20 minutes triing to set the alarm clock and went to bed at 2:00 dreading my 7:30 meeting.
I awoke at 4:00 with no chance of getting back to sleep and thought I should probably focus on a attitude change before I walked in there though at this point I would have happily hopped back on the plane and gone home calling the whole thing a wash.


We thought of the changes this company would demand, the changes for all of us, Christopher, the challenges of the new position, together we decided it would be nice to have a adventure. Around this time we all had the pleasure of meeting my niece, Keirstin who visited from B.C. for a couple of weeks. It was a nice summer, but in the back of our minds we were waiting for a phone call. Alot of people change companies and relocate, however the North west company isn't like other companies. When they say North West, they mean North. They expect their people to settle up and move North with basicly luggage only, Their southernmost store is at Moose Factory, which is way the Hell north. Our next step was to get a phone call asking me to come to Winnipeg to meet with them...