Friday, February 11, 2011

Travelling to Tisdale

Archerwill kidlets cross the road

Emil and I had a pretty good trip today; it's not quite as far as I thought, to Tisdale (home of Corner Gas's Brent Butt; the town has erected a billboard too); we left Wadena by 9 and were there in time for my appointment at 10:30. The mercury has come up considerably so there was frost coming out of the pavement and a few spots were worrisome,  but I dawdled along, not in any hurry. Nice drive.

The end results are that the optometrist thinks what is happening to my eyes is normal at my age and after having a couple rounds of that swollen-eyes thing I've had in the past (depending on which doctor you talk to, it was either from stress or from an allergy; I think it was from not washing the salty tears from my skin often enough when there was a lot of weeping), and that it may not get much worse. If it does, and my eyelids fall low enough to come in front of my pupils, the government will pay for corrective surgery. If not, and I want to go that route, it is considered cosmetic surgery and the cost has to come out of my own pocket. I'm not concerned out of vanity, as I've resigned myself to all these weird changes going on in my appearance. They've got to come and there's no point bewailing them. If I'm lucky, I'll get old and wrinkly, with jowls, and that's all there is to it. As long as I'm healthy and fit, who cares if my round blue eyes turn into beady holes with pudgy flaps drooping over them? Heh. It is to laugh. But I'll tell you, the weight on my upper eyelashes makes me aware that something is going on, as if I'm tired or my eyes are swollen.

As for the dilemma of Emil's glasses, the verdict is that he sees only marginally better with them than without them, so unless he develops headaches or various possible side effects of eye strain, he doesn't need to wear them. Aren't you glad, Gord, that your insurance bought them? Because they're going into a drawer.

On the road home there was water on the pavement. Oh, and we saw a skunk out walking. As I tell people this, they say that skunks hibernate, so the sighting is a sign of spring. Or that skunks semi-hibernate, which means they sometimes come out in winter and then go back to sleep. So I still daren't predict.

We pulled into the town of Rose Valley to see if we could wangle a visit with Emil's favourite schoolteacher, who retired at the end of last month. I parked in front of this little store to make the call.
No luck: no answer. We drove around the streets because Emil likes to do that, and he got quite excited when he spotted her car, but another phone call got no answer either so I didn't go to the door. Some other time ....

on Rose Valley's main street

I have no new news about Dallas's condition, but my cousin Karla posted this picture of her makeshift bed in his room, on her FB page this morning:

And Dad called; he is back home in Kelowna. Apparently their months in the States weren't all that pleasant weatherwise — cold, icy, windy, snowy. Just like home!

Might Could Go Back to Horses and Buggies

My heroes

Everett and I weren't too far from home Thursday afternoon when we went through a snow drift, which packed snow up under the van's carriage and knocked the power steering belt off. I had the lad pull over, then got out and popped the hood. Before I could say Hm, what's this then? our neighbour on his way home had pulled over to see what was what. He attempted to get the belt back on the pulley, but it was difficult because there's so little space in there for man hands. A few minutes later another fellow passing by stopped to help, and the two of them fiddled around under the hood while I busied myself reaching under the vehicle to knock snow out from underneath. Everett is there, just out of the photo on the left, bored. Then Scott turned up and, having done this exact same operation for the same reason just a few weeks ago, before long they had us on our way again. Although Everett and I took Scott's truck, and Scott took the van to the heated shop at his parents' so some of that snow and ice packed up under the motor could melt off. While it was there he took out the tractor and cleared the road.

I think my next vehicle might have to be a truck. For sure it won't be a van.

Being stranded if you break down is rarely a concern around here, unless maybe you're a fool out in a blizzard and no one else is out on the roads. In normal circumstances your neighbours will always stop and help you, and so will strangers (and the last thing that would occur to you is to be afraid of them). It's a good place to live. It was damn cold out there too— my toes were frozen by the time we were headed toward town again— yet those guys messed around out there in the frigid weather for at least half an hour, maybe even an hour, good-humouredly. Probably around 20C-below this afternoon, but supposed to start warming up to just a few degrees below 0C tomorrow. We'll see.

Emil and I will be on the road bright and early. We have an hour-and-a-half drive to have his glasses checked out by an optometrist. In July he got a new pair when he was at his dad's in Edmonton, and he has said from day one that he couldn't see with them, and we've thought he was being stubborn (he insisted he didn't want new glasses) and made him wear them anyway. About two weeks ago when I was cleaning the lenses and they wouldn't come clear, it occurred to me that Emil might actually have known what he was talking about. Shame on me for not giving him the benefit of the doubt six months ago. Usually I would have.

And speaking of horses, a horse rescue farm is taking five of the seven that only a few weeks ago were destined for the auction (on the way to a dog food factory). Friday morning they will be loaded into a trailer and hauled to a new home somewhere west of Saskatoon. That will loosen the feed and pasture crunch here considerably and we'll keep looking for places for the last two— a stallion and a gelding. But in the meantime they can now be put together so the stallion won't be lonely and miserable anymore.

We have been offering these horses for free to horse lovers for years, without takers, but it wasn't until as a last attempt I put the call out to my Facebook friends that the network did the job that was needed. A useful tool, is that Facebook.