A Very Full Day

Miranda, Neelix, and I are parked at Integra Tire in Assiniboia since Miranda’s out of province safety inspection is first thing tomorrow morning.

The day was quite a rush. I awoke to find more transcription in my in box than I had told my client I was available for. I touched base with him and he told me to do what I could. Thankfully, the job wound up being very easy, but it still ate up my morning and the latter part of the afternoon.

I headed to C&C’s at 1:00 to continue helping with the roof trusses (we’re building them ourselves). I helped yesterday, too, and got fed dinner for a second night in a row! We had roast beef and I LIKED IT!!! I’m turning into a real prairie gal! Today, I only put in about two hours.

When I got in around 3:30, I dumped, filled the fresh water holding tank, and finished squaring away the exterior.

I came in and continued to transcribe until another client requested a Skype meeting that took a half hour. Skype works great at Haven, by the way.

I wrapped up the transcription after that, finishing at just shy of 6:00. I got the inside all packed and pulled out just passed 6:00.

It was sloooooooow going on the road out, being that the pavement is in horrible shape, but I made good time once I hit highway 2.

My on board propane tank was just about empty, so I stopped at the Co-Op to fill up. I’ll get gas tomorrow when I have a better idea of my budget.

Integra was just a block up the street and the lot was empty, so I parked on a big almost level slab. There’s an outlet right there, so I plugged in to give my batteries a good soak.

By the time that was all done, it was about 7:30 and I was beyond ravenous. I hiked the few blocks to Andy’s restaurant and they were still open. There weren’t that many food choices at that hour, but everything was still fresh and I was even asked if I wanted such and such a dish or not. I was fine with what was there. I can’t believe the buffet is just $9.75!

I am incredibly stressed about the inspection and glad I held firm to my plan of spending the night here. I just know I’ll sleep better being on site.

I have to get on the roof in the morning. When I got propane, I noticed that I dragged what looks half a tree with me! I need to get some of my branches trimmed back. 🙂

Up On the Roof

The damage from yesterday’s hail storm seems even worse in the light of early day. The entire hamlet is a mess with big branches on main street. The tree across the alley behind the rig is broken in two.

I’ve received comments and emails about what not a big deal this was, how it wasn’t a tornado or golf ball sized. All I can say is that I have literally stared death right in the face barreling down a steep grade in my rig AND been held up at gunpoint and yesterday was still the scariest thing I have ever lived through.

The hail wouldn’t stop and the wind was so bad I could literally feel Miranda’s passenger side lifting. Neelix was flat on the floor, paws over his ears, eyes wide. There were no options for us. If the wind was bad enough to rock the rig, my little truck was no match for it. All I could do was grab him and hold him tight while I crawled into the loft, the only area with where the windows and roof hatches were covered, offering a measure of protection. Never mind how much louder the hail was lying so close to the roof.

I had no idea what I’d find outside. For all I knew, I’d find huge holes in my sidewalls or the roof. I’m not even sure I’m covered for hail damage.

At any rate, it looks like I made out okay. The internet isn’t working great and I don’t know if the antenna has damage inside or if it’s just a network overload issue.

The biggest damage is on the roof. My AC shroud is toast. It has huge holes in it. If it wasn’t so brittle, I’d just eternabond it, but any pressure will cause it to crumble. I am going to apply some white duct tape to it to keep it together and will order a new shroud from Amazon when I go to the states. Thank goodness for Amazon, those things are EXPENSIVE. 🙁

I lost a chance to do about four hours of work yesterday afternoon so now I’m scrambling to catch up. It’s hard to watch the neighbours cleaning up their yards, it makes me feel lazy, but my yard will keep while my work project is due very soon.

More of a Remote Stop Than a Remote Start

I just cleaned up Neelix’s litter box area and, as usual, my beloved pig, er cat, had spread the litter all around. Since the shore power cable was still hooked up to the genset I decided to see if my generator still works so that I could vacuum up the mess, rather than use the inverter for power.

Since the genny was cold, it refused to catch using the remote starter. I went outside, closed the choke, and it started immediately. Woohoo! Now that the exhaust is fixed, it’s actually rather quiet and the vibrations aren’t too bad.

Vacuuming done, I just shut down the genny from inside. What a luxury!

I am going to really enjoy using my new-old toy. 🙂

The only too bad thing about the genny is that the hour metre doesn’t work. L let me troubleshoot it yesterday until I needed some technical help cleaning terminals and making new connections, but we’re at the limit of his knowledge.

I know there is a bad connection and on which wire, but we couldn’t find the source in the rat’s nest of wires behind the starter. I pulled on one connector and the positive lead for the remote starter disintegrated, which really discouraged us from further poking around. In the grand scheme of things, not having the hour metre isn’t a huge deal.

Moose Jaw Grocery Run

I decided to do a Moose Jaw grocery run today so that I can avoid leaving home for the next couple of weeks, except for perhaps a Willow Bunch run to get some produce. I have tons of work to do. Also, C&C are starting the addition for their house and have a list of chores for me, so I am going to be VERY busy through the rest of the summer. Might as well start with a full larder even if a four hour drive felt like a bit much today.

My GPS doesn’t like the road east to Willow Bunch and tried to route me through Assiniboia, idiot that it is (no matter what setting I picked), making the drive to Moose Jaw much longer than it needs to be. But I knew I could head to Willow Bunch, swing north on highway 36, and then cut east to Moose Jaw on highway 2, cutting the trip almost in half.

There is literally nothing but a few farms between Willow Bunch and Moose Jaw. There is even a sign at the 13/36 junction saying that the next services are in Moose Jaw, 100KM away, and a matching sign at the 2/36 junction saying no services till Willow Bunch.

The drive was very scenic (but of course) although I had to really watch the pavement since it was in very bad shape, nearly as bad as major highways in Quebec. I must have looked like a drunk, driving around all those potholes!

I got to Moose Jaw around 11:30 and the first order of business was lunch. I had heard good things about DK Sushi and so decided to take a chance on it, hoping it would be good enough to be my habitual Moose Jaw treat. I had no trouble finding the restaurant and quickly opted for the $16 all you can eat menu as it was varied enough for me.

Everything was fresh and delicious and obviously made to order. Their miso soup was very yummy. I indulged in a couple of gyoza and even though they were fried, they were very flavourful. I had a total of 24 pieces; eight of BBQ eel, eight of yam and avocado, and eight of spicy tuna. All great! The tuna was VERY spicy, but that was offset by the sweet eel sauce. But no more spicy tuna for me as it’s made with mayo and I have firmly ascertained that eggs are what has not been agreeing with me. 🙁 The eel was so good that I decided to also try it on their ‘pizza’, of which you get a quarter per order (a couple of bites), which was perfect. Again, there was mayo (the Japanese use mayo the way Americans use ketchup), so I’ll have to watch that for next time. I finished with chocolate ice cream, which was also really good, very rich and chocolately, not the cheap ice milk that’s usually offered. I definitely got my money’s worth!

I made a number of stops after, learning the hard way how to set up an itinerary for the next trip as I had to double back a couple of times.

I first went to Canadian Tire to get some more garden hose, quick connects, and a sprayer. The store was overrun by bratty screaming children, so I gave up on shopping for anything else and was grateful that the garden centre was quiet for five minutes so I could figure out what quick connects I needed.

After, I went to Walmart for a small run, mostly for cat litter and an oil change. I helped out a customer looking at the solar panels for his RV (mostly to tell him that a 5W panel will be useless to him and that he needs about 60W, then giving him a little bit of info on how deep cycle batteries work and the best way to charge them). I continued the battery discussion with a couple of the mechanics and one just grinned as I kept confirming information that he had told another tech.

I’ve figured out that I need to go no more than 4,000KM between oil changes. More than that and I just end up pouring in oil that will end up getting drained too soon. I did buy some bulk oil for just in case, but I’ll make it a point to get to an oil change place more regularly than I needed to with my little car.

Next stop was M&M Meatshop! Wow, I haven’t been to one since I left Lethbridge! I spent quite a bit on pork, chicken breasts, and fish, but it’s all good stuff and will be tasty. I was just about to pay when I noticed boxes of cod fillets and made sure to add one to my order. They will be a welcome addition to my diet.

I then headed back behind DK Sushi to do my main grocery run at the Safeway. A lot of the stuff was crazy expensive ($7 for two bunches of kale?! $1 for a single lemon?!) but I got such good deals on other stuff that it all evened out. My card savings were $40.24 and I also got a 5 cents per litre fuel discount. So when I went to gas up after, it was at $1.19, the cheapest by far that I’ve paid since I got back to Canada.

The one thing I didn’t find at Safeway was almonds in bulk and I suddenly remembered that Moose Jaw now has a Bulk Barn. It wasn’t in my GPS. I asked a lady also getting gas if she knew where it is. Yup, right by Walmart. Dang! I headed back up there and got a few things. Oh, Bulk Barn, how I have missed thee! I have not been to one since I left the Ottawa area. When I lived in Ottawa in the late ’90s, my world was within a 45 minute walking distance radius of my Sandy Hill apartment. A big treat was to hop on the bus and go a few stops away to get to the Bulk Barn at the Gloucester Centre.

Moose Jaw has really grown in the last five years! Last time I was there, it was very sleepy and there weren’t that many stores and restaurants. It has really built up and feels like a proper city. One lady I spoke to said that Regina has a Costco, but otherwise there’s no longer any reason to go shop in Regina except for really specialized stuff.

It rained hard for most of the afternoon and there was a major storm watch for the Assiniboia area, but the drive home was under clear skies and felt like it didn’t take any time at all. It is cooling down now and the internet is misbehaving, telling me that the promised bad weather is indeed incoming.

Baked Under a Prairie Sky

aSummer is in full force in southern Saskatchewan!

This morning, I heard some commotion at the front door and found this cheeky little fellow taunting my boy:

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He was not timid! I opened the door and he just hopped down a step. I had to grab Neelix by the scruff of his neck as he was ready to bound out after his prize!

After finishing my work for the day, I headed to Willow Bunch to get some produce, more gas for Miranda’s tank, and also to check in with the RM office about getting garbage pickup and a water tap.

It was a bad day to be on the road east since they were grading. Thank goodness I have a truck!

The gals at the RM office recognized me quickly from my emails. They will bill me for garbage and water until November 15th. As long as I can find a trash barrel, I can put my trash at the curb for pickup next week!

As for water, they said that they will send someone over tomorrow to talk to me about it. *all appendages crossed that he shows up*

The Willow Bunch Co-Op had some really nice produce, so I was quite pleased and filled my basket to the brim with the best of summer’s bounty.

I stopped at C&C’s on the way home to pick up some lettuce and green onions from their garden, and then went to work on the generator.

It would not spark again as it did the other day. I am so frustrated with manufacturers who don’t consider maintenance work. I went through the troubleshooting guidebook I got from Onan at the seminar and traced the non-spark to a section that is not accessible without pulling the entire genset unit. It has a two-part cover that is bolted and screwed in areas that you can’t get out with standard sized tools.

I am so irked to have gotten that far: oil good, fuel line clean, carb spic and span, air filter clean, 12V power getting to the unit and to not be able to clean and tighten some leads near the brushes!

I may tackle that bolts and such again tomorrow. By the time I realised how much elbow grease was going to be needed, it was way past dinnertime and I was getting the shakes.

When I saw a doctor in Lethbridge way back in the summer of 2012, I got the first full workup of my life and still the doctor could not figure out why I was just plain exhausted all the time and had been for years, which meant stress wasn’t the answer. He suggested that as soon as I had a two-week window of time with no social commitments, I should go on an elimination diet of no wheat, soy, dairy, yeast, and eggs to rule out a potential allergy that could be sapping my energy.

Well, the summer of 2012 at my mother’s was no place to try such a diet. Nor was fall and early winter in Hampton Roads, what with the holiday season. And neither was later winter and early spring of 2013, what with all my social commitments! I finally got a window of time after my Kelowna expedition.

So birthday cake on Friday notwithstanding (and this wasn’t a gooey sort of cake, but rather a lemon bundt), I have been off not only wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, and yeast for a solid week, but also all carbs except fruit, and no caffeine either. And I haven’t felt this good EVER. I’ve had no bad days at all and no withdrawal symptoms, and I haven’t had this much energy in all my life! I never ever thought I would get on the low-carb bandwagon, but something in my diet had to change and apparently that was it.

All that to say, I was thinking the other night about what to put in a tuna salad to make it creamy without using dairy and the answer came to me quickly: avocado. So tonight I whipped up some guacamole (with a Willow Bunch-purchased avocado), mixed in a can of tuna, and served a scoop of this over C&C’s lettuce and some delicious cherry tomatoes:

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Dinner was as tasty as it looks! I make my guac with lots of lime juice and garlic, so it is very flavourful and a perfect complement to the bland tuna.

Later, I will treat myself to a bowl of fresh local raspberries!