Saturday, November 22, 2014

Well, I finally remembered my login for this site. I've left this dormant for so long, I forgot how to get in..haha.

  Its been over two years since I last posted, I'm sure most of the people who used to follow along have long since abandoned this site from their reading list, but what the hell.

  I found the last post I had stored in "drafts" and it detailed the last of our move north and the first little bit of our stay here.

  So much has happened since and so much is happening now.

  I'll post this old one up for now and then try and do a recap of the last couple years. 

  To entice you to stick around and hear me out, I'll give you the TL;DR

- Flew for a total of three more summer seasons 
- Got myself checked out and PPC'd on the KingAir 100, my first turbine twin, as an FO anyway
- Drove a Fuel Delivery Truck for two winter seasons, driving on the "highways" of the North, such as they are. Ice Bridges, Winter Roads, all kinds of fun.
- Got a new job offer last week to move to a town a bit further south and start flying as an FO on a KingAir 200 as a Medevac FO
- Selling our place up here and Buying a "real" house down there.

  Part of the reason the blog got quiet was the fact that I live in a VERY small town. While nothing I've posted would really be weird or awkward if my neighbours saw it, I still felt/feel self conscious about it and it really did scare me off worrying so much about posting the wrong thing, or being identified online. While the town I am moving to is still small, its a lot bigger than this one and frankly, I'm coming around to the idea of just not giving a crap anymore.

  In that light, I'll try and post a lot of pictures from the last couple years and maybe try and mend my ways for the upcoming adventure and try and keep up on this again.

  Anyhow, enjoy a the pre-quel and I'll try and get some more stuff up here soonish.

Well, its been a busy few months... Can't even pretend to be disappointed that I haven.t been updating this site very much lately. I can keep pretending, but the fact is, its a little down in the priority list these days.

  Things have settled down a little now, so who knows, maybe things will change... Lots of big stuff has passed astern now and we are both settling into a slower routine than we used to have, but its still busy nonetheless.

  Couple of the big things;

  We finally sold our Condo in Big-City.

  Took over five months to even get an offer. For a city where stuff sells over a weekend, this was a bit of a shock to us... I think we bought into the real-estate hype a little too much and forgot that when we bought our place, we knew it was a "starter" condo. That's real-estate speak for kinda-crappy-but-hey-its-cheap. Our development had no amenities, a troubled history with a builder that just barely completed the building before going under, landscaping that sat unfinished for four years and a small legal battle with the city and the New Home Warranty company to colour our strata minutes a certain shade of troubled.

  Our unit itself was even further down the list. Small ( 720 sq ft. ), located under a stairwell facing out with its lone little window onto the walkway to the front entrance. Sitting in your living room, you are treated to a steady stream of people walking by at arms reach and head level past your front window. Frankly, when walking past an apartment window that is RIGHT THERE, don't you turn your head, even for a quick peek? Yeah, they did too....all of them.

  Anyhow, we dropped the price a couple times as we were getting tons of showings, but no bites. Finally got a good offer and we pulled the trigger as quick as we could.  Our realtor was very patient with us, especially since we bristled initially at her advice to start lower than we thought it was worth.

  So, that's done. Lots of things to sign, paperwork to scan, courier and stack in a big pile for filing one day....

  Moving on, we moved in. Took us a better part of a month to really get set up in the new place and find homes for all our stuff. Man, we have a lot of stuff. Despite having just returned from living overseas in 2005 and returning with little more than a couple suitcases and a van-load of boxes to pick up from storage, we've managed to accumulate a fair schwack of crap in the last seven years.

  Enough to fill the uhaul that brought our stuff here right to the brim, floor to ceiling, front to back.

 I thought of stopping in the last-biggish-town-that-has-a-walmart on the way here to load up on a few cases of diapers, but there was no room. That's how much crap we have. I'm ashamed to admit we still keep up a storage locker down south with stuff that is worth too little to drag 2000 kilometres north but too much to drag to the dump.

  And then, we finally closed the deal on this place. The deal with the seller was that they would let us " rent " the place till our condo sold and we could complete the sale. After a month here I realized that we could financially pull off buying it and carrying a second mortgage, given that it was so cheap. We notified the seller and the bank and tried to forge ahead, but the seller wasn't quite ready, they had assumed we would be at least another month and didn't have everything ready on their end. Turned out OK in the end as they agreed to a reasonable time-frame for closing and were reasonable on the pro-rata of the rent for the interim.

  Originally when we were looking at places we were aiming for a price range at least double what we paid for this place. Turns out, given the gaps in our employment, carrying our empty condo for a couple months and the costs of moving, buying, closing, selling, etc, we just barely squeaked it by into this place. Had we gone a lot higher in price, we might have had a little bit of trouble.

  In any case, all our stuff is now squirreled away into the nooks and crannies of a little trailer, circa 1985, that measures 70 feet by 14 feet. 980 Square feet of OURS.

  Situated on a sizable lot of 100 by 150 feet, we have great neighbours all around and good sprinkling of trees and bushes as well. Not much for a lawn, as it turns out though. I raked it all out in preparation for the first mowing after the snow melted and found that what looked like a lawn at first glance was actually 70% weeds, 10% gravel, 10% old leaves and dead weeds from last summer and 10% actual grass. Talking to my neighbour, she mentioned that same, if the weeds were gone, we wouldn't even have " lawns ".

  I saw a couple bags of grass seed for sale at the hardware store and snagged them and scattered them over the lawn earlier in the spring. Might as well have bought green paint and threw that around for all the good it did. Technically the area where we live is an inland desert. Summers are very dry and we haven't had any appreciable precipitation since early-early spring. Mowing the weeds makes it look like a lawn and my daughter doesn't give a hoot about playing on dandelion leaves as opposed to grass, so its not really a big deal, but its my pet project. I don't really have the time, inclination, nor spare cash to do it right, so I'm just picking at the problem like n old scab... I threw down a hundred square feet or so of black dirt, raked it our and seeded the crap out of it. It looks silly, but its really the biggest chunk I can spare the water to keep it moist enough to give them half a chance at sprouting. Even then, I'm not sure its enough.

  I forgot to mention, we moved into " old town " which is exactly what it sounds like, the site of the original township up here. Sometime during the early sixties, they had a big flood and a lot of homes were destroyed. This wasn't the first flood and the government convinced everyone to move the town upstream a mile or two to higher ground. Except a lot of people didn't leave either, and since the real estate prices were a lot cheaper and now available with the exodus to new town, well, old town is still here. Old Town has no sewer or water connections, everything comes in and out by truck service. We have a small trailer with a small tank, 250 Gals to be precise, so we get water delivered three times a week. Truck pulls up, hose gets plugged in and they pump our tank full. Once every two weeks another truck comes and hooks up to our sewage tank and takes that same water, now gently used, away.

  You don't really realize how much water you go through until you have to walk past that tank in the hallway and see the level every day. Thinking about it, we use, on average, about 40 Gallons of water, per person, per day. That's a Full Drum of water, every day. A shower, a dishwasher load, a laundry load and a little cooking. Doesn't sound like much, but the numbers don't lie.

  In any case ,not a whole lot left over to water the lawn with. Hence the little patch of moist-ish dirt out front, covered in grass seed and high hopes.

  The other day I actually made a little bit of a fuck-up and tried to use up the last of the water in the tank on the grass before leaving for work. I turned on the sprinkler and went back inside to watch the water level and finish my coffee. Water level runs down to with an inch or two of the bottom, suction pipe make a little burbling noise as it sucks air and I go back out and turn off the sprinkler and then head to work.

  Problem is, the water system runs on a pressure-pump. A little pump pumps water from the holding tank into a little tank the size of a 20 lb propane bottle. Inside this bottle is a rubber bladder filled with air and a little room for water to come in. Pump pushes the water in, squeezing the rubber bladder until there is roughly 50 lbs of pressure in the balloon and then stops. The bladder, with its Captive Air Pressure ( thats what the little tank is called ) is what pushes the water out the tap when you turn it on. Once you use enough water for the pressure to drop below a certain amount, the pump turns back on and fills it up again.

  Except........if you run it dry.... My pump was trying to fill up the Captive Air Tank, but couldn't, there was no water left to push in there. I had left for work and wasn't inside to hear the little pump working away....fruitlessly......continuously........without the water it needs to lubricate, seal and cool the internal pump parts.........all morning.

  I came home at lunch and heard it, barely. It was really quiet as it wasn't actually pumping anything, just turning..... But the damage had already been done. The internal bits of the pump were cooked, the impeller and seal most likely were melted from spinning dryly inside the metal pump housing and even with the new supply of water in my holding tank, they couldn't pump anymore without a seal.

  So, yesterday was screw around with broken pump trying to prime it morning, followed by buying a new pump and contemplating how bad I could screw this up by attempting to put it in myself. You, and my wife, would be happy to know I followed up expensive pump purchase with a shot of plumber to wash the day down.

  So yeah, the water runs again and we are free to fritter away our water resources on keeping dirt moist and dishes clean.

  Also, the wife has picked up very good paying work up here. We had hoped she might get added to the on-call list and pick up enough for us to get by on in addition to my meager pilot salary. Instead, she got full-time, with benefits. Now they've asked her to come in and train for a second position so that they can call her in on the weekends. The weekend work being overtime, to the tune of double her rate. She is off this weekend training for that. I mentioned to her the other day, if she could just try and think of the family, she might get up a couple hours earlier during the week and be able to pick up a little more work in the mornings....haha.

  So, that takes care of most of the Big Stuff that had us stressed about the move. We've moved into housing that we really like, and can really afford. I am flying, she is working and for the first time in our ten years of living and budgeting together, there is money left over at the end of the month, instead of month left over at the end of the money.

  The folks at Visa are probably going to cancel our cards due to " suspicious activity " when we actually run a zero-balance.

  The flying has been good as well. It could be busier, but you take what you can get. I've had quite a few flights on the C337, which I enjoy and a few more on the C208 as well, which I really enjoy. Its funny though, I didn't see it last year, but I do this year, the Caravan really IS the easier airplane on the two. The systems are quite a bit simpler, even if just in operation, and it really does handle " like a big 172 ". I've gotten to do a little bit of float work on it as well this year, which I really enjoy as well.

  Career wise, yeah, I could probably rack up hours somewhere else at a faster rate, but the downside would be I wouldn't get anywhere near equipment as challenging as a Light Piston Twin or a Turbine Caravan on amphibs at my level of experience with most other companies.

  So there it is, a snapshot of my last feeble attempt to keep this site going, two and change years ago.

  My new work schedule has quite a bit of down-time, given that I'm on call. Maybe I'll pick his up again and try and fill in the blanks, or maybe I'll have new stories to add in, who knows.

  It won't be this week though, and maybe not even this month. Right in the middle of moving again, selling, buying, closing, packing, driving, painting, unpacking... you get the idea.


  1. Hope you enjoy the KingAir 200 and flying medevac!

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