Saturday, August 18, 2007

Vanishing Point...

I recently received a comment on this photo which is displayed on my Flickr site. The comment was "nice vanishing point." It hadn't occurred to me to think of it as a vanishing point at all but instead I always seem to think of photos like this as pathways to move forward on. To me this is an invitation to travel ahead and see and live whatever is out there. It's nice to have experienced what's behind me, but I find what lies ahead holds more fascination and challenge.

What do I see out there in the distance? I hope it will somehow be something that can help make up for years of travel and missed memories. I want it to be a time to reflect and perhaps start to understand what I've lost by not being home to watch my kids grow up.

I want to sit on my deck, to watch the sun rise and set, to watch the stars and wildlife go by, to see the seasons change in progression and not with the abruptness caused by my having flown 2,000 miles north and through 3 time zones that day.

What do I want most to be down that road? Time. I want my lost time back. Simply time to spend wisely with my wife as we grow old together sitting out on that deck, reliving and building memories.

There is no vanishing point in my future... I see only opportunities.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

August 10...

Back on the road again and this time it’s to Kasabonika in Northern Ontario. It was a great day to fly and on my preferred carrier, Bearskin Airlines at that. The route was Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay to Sioux Lookout where I transferred to Wasaya Airways for the last leg of the journey. The travel day was only 10 hours and it was broken up nicely into small parts with the longest being that early morning drive from Wikwemikong to Sudbury. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this ‘probably’ being my last trip of the year and spending some time sitting on the deck with a fine single malt scotch in mid September. See you then!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ramblings from the aircraft…

"Clear and warm climbing out of Kuujjuaq"

I was recently waiting for a flight out of the Kuujjuaq airport with a couple of our Store Managers and the subject came up as to how long each of had been with Northern. You should have seen their expressions when I told them that I have 34 years in this month. They just couldn't believe that anyone would stick it out that long at the same job and it occurred to me that it used to be easier. We all seemed to enjoy our jobs more “way back when the world was young” didn't we? Although I do remember having better things to do than haul wood and make a weeks worth of kindling on a Sunday afternoon in Mistassini this became a part of me, one of my favourite stories and I'm glad I put in those finger numbing -40 degree hours.

Staff problems seem to be getting worse everywhere in the north and south both and no one seems to be content with their lot any more. What is it now, something like 7 times that the average person changes jobs in their lifetime? Why is that? Sure, every day of my work life hasn't been perfect but there were some darned good ones in there. It just seems to me that people now are asking and expecting too much. Guess what? The world doesn't owe us a living.

We are responsible for our own life and happiness and no, it's not the Governments obligation to cater to our every whim. The people that whine and demand and complain about every little thing have to wake up, grow brains and take some responsibility for what happens to them. Living isn't supposed to be easy, it’s a challenge and you have to enjoy the daily small victories and realize that every one of those has to be balanced off with the occasional setback. It’s called life so deal with it people!

"Raining in Montreal but not on me!"

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

August 5th...

We took off out of Salluit about 10 minutes ago for what is most likely the last time for me. It's been fun but the staffing problems just flat wore me down this trip. A lot of it was because of the season when everyone goes camping. More of a problem this year was that I lost three people to Montreal and one to Iqaluit. It's great that Air Inuit is offering a very attractive return seat sale for its passengers but it makes it hard to keep our part time worker students around. Some days you have to open late and/or close early as a result and that is poor customer service which can’t be helped. The store here is not overly large but there is still too much involved in the operation for just two or three people to handle.

The plan was to have ten days or so off before heading out again but they called and of course I said yes, again. It's nice to be needed but I had plans for a huge Watkins Open House to introduce the new ALL-Natural Cleaning Line and also something special to promote a really great Holiday Gift series also coming out in August. Now you will just have to wait until I get home in mid September.

The good news however is that unless something really drastic or particularly nasty pops up this is my last trip of the year. You know, sometimes I complain about the trips and the problems but how many other jobs give you up to 4 months a year off with full pay, plus bonuses, plus travel to locations that the average tourist would pay thousands of dollars to see just once. Hey, guess I've got it pretty good, huh!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Valuable Lesson Learned...

So that's how it's done, eh? I won't say how it happened or who was involved but it wasn't me! Somehow or other the only key for the store truck got locked inside it last night. Neither Lorne nor I had any idea how to break into a vehicle so I went next door to see if our construction crew had any ideas. I'm not too sure what these guys did in a previous life but needless to say I now have an excellent idea of how to break into a vehicle. It's surprisingly easier than I thought... but I still hope I never have to practice it myself.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Here Comes the Coast Guard...

The CGCS Terry Fox sailed in at about 5:00 am yesterday. I suspect that it's in the area due to all the difficulties that some of the shipping traffic has had this year and of course it's great to be "showing the flag" in the north. My own photo above was taken from quite a distance but the close-up of this Icebreaker was taken directly from the Coast Guard web site.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sealift 2007...

THANK YOU to Lorne, Josepie and the gang for making this event go so smoothly. We didn't get much stock for the store on this ship as the big one is in October but it was still a major undertaking for the day. Most of what came off was for our new store construction crew who took care of their own freight and everything went nice and easy for both of us.

You're never quite certain what you will find when you open a container. Sometimes you get a mixture of furniture, soft drinks, ski-doo oil, floor tiles, photo-copy paper and who knows what. Here the crew is starting with a fairly clean warehouse but it sure looked different by the end of the afternoon. Thanks again to everyone who showed up to help!