Returning to 3C... Again...

Shawn and I arrived in Lethbridge last Monday night and settled into our new home, a spare room in my sister Chelsey's house. The next morning Shawn headed off to work while I slept in, stretched then came downstairs to visit with my sister. It felt like a sleep-over. Funny how I've only been married for 4 months yet it seems like so long ago that I lived with female friends. We laid around, made breakfast and enjoyed killing our morning talking, watching t.v. and reading. 
And then my phone rang.
No one calls my cell phone.
No one, except nursing administration! 
    -Why yes, I would LOVE to come in and work on 3C and make money! 

The joy of being casual staff is that you are never tied down to a schedule, you make your own schedule but the problem is that your paycheck is never a guarantee. Coming home for the summer slightly worried me because I wasn't sure how many other casuals I would have to fight to get shifts. Thank goodness for sick calls and vacation time because all the money I have made in the last two years has been completely dependent on sick people, 'sick' people and people going on vacation. I actually am actively campaigning for people to take all those trips that they've been planning on, and if they have the sniffles I truly believe they should stay home and rest... and let me come work for them. (Have I mentioned how ready I am to get a position, but first I have to actually settle somewhere for more than four months at a time, which appears to be harder for me than it sounds...) So far, I have been called each and every day I have been here to work. I think nursing admin is relieved to have someone with a completely open schedule who is just dying to get to work.

I love my job here in Alberta, and I love my job in Saskatchewan. Shawn and I talk about whether I am extremely blessed with the jobs I get or I am just easily pleased. I like to think both, because I have truly loved every job I have had and am so sad to leave one behind. That's the predicament I find myself in. Leaving my job on PAC in Saskatoon to return to 3C in Lethbridge. Both jobs are related to surgical patients but they could not be more different. Luckily, I love them both.

PAC is a unit where nurses go to retire. I am easily the youngest nurse on the floor by 20-30 years. It's a fast-paced, high patient flow unit that is favoured by nursed for the Mon-Fri 8-4:30 pm schedule. I love it because it is A) absolute minimal physical workload which is ideal for my back and B) the ability to work one-on-one with a patient. It's fantastic and completly unlike any other nursing job I have had. You take a patient's chart, focus on them and only them for an hour and then move to the next patient. No call bells, no meds or meals to dish out. Just you, the patient, and your teaching/duties. AMAZING.

Then there is 3C: General Surgery. Perhaps I am partial but I truly believe this is the best unit in the hospital but for some odd reason, I keep leaving it! This is my third year in a row that I have returned to 3C from a 4-12 hiatus. It's slightly ridiculous. I always feel like I am either coming or going. Luckily, the staff and the routine is the same and it felt like no time had passed. Something I had missed is the stories you come home with; the slightly-crazy patients, the survival stories, the medical saves, etc. I have been back for only 4 shifts and I already have more stories in those 4 shifts than 2 months in Pre-Assess. I have missed that and am so glad to be back.

Is it too much to ask to just move all of 3C to Saskatoon? 
Too much?
I thought so... Pity.


Alberta Bound

I am sitting on the floor in front of our couch where Shawn is passed out, having a well deserved nap. He has just finished the last of his exams and now is officially in summer mode for the next 4.5 months. 

In a couple days we will be moving and around me are boxes, all generously donated from grocery stores or scavenged from fast-food restaurant's cardboard bin. I am impressed by how many apples IGA and Safeway go through because each day we were able to walk away with 10-12 apple boxes (which FYI: are the BEST packing box due to the size and the fact they have lids!) We still have quite a bit more to do. Namely decide what clothes we will need for the next four months, wrap all the furniture and then haul it to the storage unit which will hold all our belongings till we return for September.

 Shawn is so excited to get on with this next step, back to Lethbridge to play with his giant man toys all summer (aka bull-dozers, back-hoe's, excavators, etc) and while I am looking forward to returning to southern Alberta I still find myself a little sad leaving behind our house. Shawn says he won't miss the flooding bathroom, or the missing ceiling tiles that masquerade as a 'fan', or the fact that there is no utensil drawer or that the house is roughly the size of some people's kitchen but I am going to miss it. It was our first home together and I know that I will love it just for that forever... But if our next house has a drawer for our utensils, I will be okay with that. 


A Whole New Kind of Problem...

The last couple days I kept seeing the strangest thing. My neighbors across the road would trek out to their front yards with shovels and start shoveling the snow. Now, shoveling driveways and sidewalks I have seen, but front yards? Never. I was bewildered watching my neighbors shovel their snow from A to B and then from B to A. Then I was let in on the secret. A secret that is quite common knowledge here. 

I was talking to a patient in Pre-Assessment Clinic last week when I inquired if she had issues with her eyes, ears, nose or throat. She did, she replied saying that her allergies were acting up. When asked what her allergies were, she said, "snow mould". Um, excuse me? Snow, what? Sure enough, she was allergic to something that I had not even known existed. 

I was curious about this new discovery so I did what I always do when curious. I googled it. 
"Snow mold is very common on lawns in Saskatchewan and sometimes it causes severe damage.
These fungi cause damage in the fall and in spring when snow covers the grass. The damage will likely occur in shaded or wet areas where the snow is slow to melt, but it is especially severe in years when a heavy and persistent snow falls on unfrozen ground."

Coming from Southern Alberta, a place blessed/cursed with windy Chinooks, I am not used to snow that comes in November and stays until spring thaw. Our snow comes then melts and comes then melts and comes then melts, etc. Saskatoon does not believe in snow melting in winter. The snow that falls in November is still there in April, making the bottom layer in your backyard's snow, layered under all the other month's snowfall. Now that spring has arrived, we discovered that there is, in fact, grass under all the snow in our front yard. Our neighbors across the streets whose front yards are not lucky enough to be hit with the sun during the morning are still knee deep in snow which, turns out, is prime snow mold growth environment. 

When I read further on, all of a sudden my shovel-wielding neighbors started to make more sense to me. The number one tip to prevent snow mould is, 
"In the spring, spread snow drifts as this speeds up melting and discourages snow mold growth."
Okay, so maybe they aren't crazy but goodness, as if having the snow stick around so long isn't bad enough but now I find out that mold can grow under all that snow. I miss chinooks. 

Birthdays and BBQs

What do birthdays and BBQ's have in common? They are two good excuses to get some people together. 
Spring has finally arrived in Saskatoon! Hurrah! Never mind the fact that there is very light snow falling right now, as I type, I refuse to be brought down from my spring-induced high. 

Shawn and I went to Costco and when we came across ribs and chicken wings we couldn't help but buy some. Can anyone really refuse their prices and their quality? Only problem with Costco food is that the 'bulk' factor. Our two-some-ness is not ideal for Costco packaging. I suppose we could have froze some of the wings and ribs but where's the fun in that? The only solution was throwing a barbeque!!!!!

We definitely had enough food to feed a small army but due to the fact our basement suite is roughly the size of a tent, we had to limit it to having 3 other couples over. Trent & Cathy, Rob & Bailey, and Chance & Amy were kind enough to come over and help tackle the mountain of BBQ ribs, wings and baked potatoes. Shawn just could not resist cooking every wing and rib and by no means are these boys shy about eating and yet we still had a mountain of chicken left over. Good thing it's delicious because I am more than okay eating the same, delicious thing over and over. 

But the best thing about the BBQ was being able to semi-celebrate Shawn's upcoming 25th birthday... What is with guys' aversion to birthday parties? Shawn made me promise not to throw him a birthday party, but when he started the whole BBQ train rolling, I couldn't help but buy him a ice cream cake. It was a perfect example of killing 3 birds with one stone. 
1) Desert for the BBQ
2) Giving Shawn a birthday cake 
3) Getting to eat an ice cream cake 

But to ensure that Shawn wouldn't accuse me of breaking my promise, I put no candles on the cake (only the sweetest '2' & '5' numerical sparklers ) and refused any attempt to sing 'Happy Birthday'

All in all, any day where you combine spring, friends, BBQ food, and ice cream cake I consider that a fantastic day. In fact, I wouldn't mind every weekend being like that. 


We Love the Gong

April 6, 2010 was supposed to be my last day in Australia. I was devastated about leaving the gorgeous weather and beaches to go back home. Perhaps my subconscious is partly to blame for the surfing accident that left me broken and in the hospital for 3 weeks. After all, thanks to breaking my back my stay was extended by 6 more weeks. Yep, I think I sabotaged my own trip home.
Doped up on drugs was how I survived the first few days.
Bring on the childbirth, can't be worse than this.
My friends who were by my side every slow step of the way. 
Showing off my battle wounds 
My Aussie Fam...
My Aunt, and Aussie surrogate mom, and my actual mom

There are many perks of getting injured in Australia.
#1 Recovery on the beach

Every day I thank my Heavenly Father for the countless blessings I have experienced since that April day. But none more than bringing that crazy guy who looked at a broken girl with a back brace and thought, "That's the girl I wanna marry." 
I Love You.


Potholes, Potholes, Everywhere!!!

Driving through puddles used to be a guilt-free pleasure of mine. Until I moved to Saskatoon, where many an innocent-looking puddle are hiding... A GIGANTIC crater...

Seriously, how did I miss a meteorite crashing down?? Shouldn't that have been in the news?

Oh wait, that is just the typical pothole that litter the streets here... Driving has become a dangerous game of dodging crater pothole after pothole.

Not your average pothole..
Little cars like mine should be afraid..

The Best Feeling...

No, I am not talking about love, friendship or any of the typical feel-good feelings.

I am talking about finding free samples. Oh yes. Is there anything better than going to Costco and walking around trying out bite-sized samples of chicken, pasta, treats and cheese? Getting free samples just make me smile.

Shawn and I were at a movie with the other Bevans, Trent & Cathy, in line for a soda. We were pulling at our pockets trying to scrape every bit of change to make the $3.75 needed to buy the soda sans a debit card, but we coming up $0.25 short. Jokingly, I said "maybe he will just give it to us for free", and then conceded to pulling out the debit card. When we got up to the till and ordered our drink, how surprised was I when he gave us the drink for free! He said he heard me mention maybe getting if for free and he figured, 'why not'? It only saved us $3.75, you save more using your Safeway club card but it made my day, even talking about it after the movie.

The next best thing to getting something for free is finding a loophole... Anyone who works in a place where parking is scare will agree when I say parking can be a pain. The hospital I work at has outrageous parking prices at $15/day and the closest 4 blocks are all 2 hr parking which can mean either a looong walk at 6:15 am or running outside every 2 hrs to beat the ticket police. It was a lose/lose. And then I found this.... 

Do you notice the difference on the bottom sign on the second photo? It looks like "No Parking" but it's only no parking when it's a snow route... It means that when the roads are clear, this spot is one of only two FREE all-day spots and I grab it every day.

And look how close I am!!! Everyday I pull up and park in my free parking zone, I can't help but grin, even with the sub-zero temperatures. Seriously, how sad is it that I seriously think I'm more excited for this than Christmas morning!? I am amazed that more people haven't clued into this but I'm not gonna spread the word...


Bowling for Birthdays

I have discovered how to strike-it-rich here in Saskatoon.

Open a bowling alley.

Don't believe me? Just come to Saskatoon and try and go bowling at any of the three bowling alleys on a Friday night. I called at 3 p.m. to be informed that the next available open lane was at 11:45pm. Awesome. I will just tell everyone to meet me there at 11:45 for 2 hours of bowling. Needless to say, midnight bowling didn't happen. If you were willing to opt for 5-pin bowling, your odds at scoring a coveted Friday slot time was slightly better; 10:15 was the next open slot.

I, for one, was very willing to go for 5-pin but I have come to realize that many (mainly guys) are against the 'leaner' bowling. How uncanadianYes, it's true; 5-pin bowling was imagined by a Canadian in 1909 in Toronto who was interested in drawing out business men to bowling alleys during their lunch break. 10-pin was considered too strenous for lunch-time in a suit but when they took away 5 pins, shrunk them and cut the size of the ball to 1/5, all of a sudden it was a hit.

Some random facts about 5-pin bowling:

* only played in Canada
* those quite inept at bowling with get extra practice playing 5-pin. Each round, players get 3 balls. If you knock them all down with the first: a strike, the second: a spare, and the third: you get the full 15-points
* until 1967, a bowler had to knock down the right corner pin, called the counter, in order to score any points
* unlike 10 pin-bowling, each pin in 5-pin has a specific value. The center pin is worth 5-pt compared to 2-pt for the corner pin. The value of all the pins is 15-pts so a 'perfect game' is 450, compared to 10-pin's 300
* the pins have a special rubber ring that results in the pin moving further when hit
* in 2007, 5-pin bowling was ranked #4 in CBC's list of '50 Greatest Canadian Inventions'

Despite that 5-pin bowling is 'a part of our heritage' (loved those commercials growing up) the majority of guys I talk to just don't like 5-pin. In fact, rather than bowling 5-pin, our group decided to go to a movie instead. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the balls are so much smaller and they don't get quite the same kick out of tossing them around, or maybe it's due to the fact that since the pins are spread out more, you can't just torpedo the ball down the lane and knock them all down in one shot (which seems to be so many guys 'technique' in 10-pin). Despite the guys aversion to 5-pin, Saskatoon-ers love their bowling, regardless of how many pins there are. 

  Learning from our previous mistakes, Amy called and booked a lane for Chance's 23rd birthday a day in advance and secured a 8:00 pm time slot for 10-pin. When we got to the bowling alley, I was impressed by what I saw. Comfortable couches (2 for each lane), movie screens with music videos playing, and black-light bowling. We played two games.

 The first game was dominated by the boys with Chance and Shawn coming in 1, 2 respectively. But the most improved had to go to Amy, who went from getting gutter-balls for the first 4 rounds to leading the score-board for the majority of the second game.
  We were all impressed, but in the end I ended up in first.

It was slightly fantastic beating the boys, even if Chance says I ruined his birthday by beating him.