Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hooray for Waterford's schools

The staff at Waterford Public and Waterford High have been awesome.

After consulting with Mr. M., we decided that Aidan would register for Grade 9 academic math at summer school. Mr. M. secured special permission for Aidan to attend straight out of Grade 8 - so that's done.

Aidan (Grade 9) will be homeschooled in Grade 9 English, French (with lots of support from M. Black) and Science and Aidan will keep working in business, media studies and tech and with Ms. MacKenzie's support, will seek accreditation in geography and phys ed. while away. We couldn't find another reasonable solution that works with Ontario's high school curriculum for academic levels but with such support, we're feeling much more confident about this fantastic educational experience for the kids.

Elizabeth will be homeschooled for Grade 6 in everything, again with much support including texts for her work.

I've purchased a few books for English and other studies and am confident the kids will really enjoy the experience.

Reg will attend school in the fall, Mr. M. has assisted for second semester work while he's with us. He managed to get all of his core subjects in the fall at school and will take electives while with us.

I'm going to have to brush up on French, tidal charts and plumbing technology.

We're also taking my Spanish books for our hoped-for trip to Cuba!

The big trick will be loading up our rather small bookshelf with materials for the floating schoolhouse. The kids will also be corresponding with teachers (did I mention how great they are?) via their laptops. Elizabeth is just setting up her own blog and will soon correspond with her two classes - enrichment at Elgin and Ms. Deleye's class at Waterford Public.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sing a happy working song

I'm only two coats of Helmsman varnish away from a refreshed bit of wood in the salon. Isn't it funny how a 'small' job can grow to a monster? I had to strip and sand out the teak and mahogany bulkhead and trim around Aidan's pilot berth due to a small but persistant leak in the porthole above his head. We replaced the ports last year but this wood problem remained. So, I thought, it's a little job, why don't I just keep going and do the rest of the bulkhead. Hey, while I'm at it, why don't I just tag on the handrails running the length of the salon...hey, if I do that I have to do the trim along the settees, .....

Four weeks later and finally the end is almost in sight. What was I thinking? Forget the romance of wood interior. Bring on the plastic.

Mind you, I decided that while working on the boat with my extremely patient, wonderful husband, that I had the better job. He was replacing all the hoses feeding the holding tank - the, um, misshapen stainless tank (see earlier post) that holds our unmentionables until we get it pumped out. This includes reattaching a sensor to tell warn us when the holding tank is reaching capacity (really, a very civilized device) and a see-through bit of hose in order to ensure that the tank is cleaned out after a pump-out and a wash.

He tends to turn on music really loud and sing even louder to see him through such jobs. So far, it's working. Considering the amount of work ahead in the, well, head, I bought him satellite radio for Father's Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What? Only 4 days left in my cubicle?

Yay. Leave officially approved for Lisa from The Hamilton Spectator - surely an enlightened workplace. I have a mere four days of work left at my part-time job. Last day is June 30, just before Canada Day and the start of the HST (the subject of my latest story).

Kind of weird though. I've been here for 15 years slogging away with the occasional holiday here and there but change is, well, weird.

I'm hoping that the trip will inspire some new writing styles. I have lots of ideas about multimedia and writing styles jammed up in my head from my fantastic theatre course at Mac in the spring.

Kate Barlow, a former colleague, retired from the Spectator several years ago and has written several books since. It's good to change things up once in a while, and I'm not just talking about underwear.

I'm just darn lucky Scott and I both have jobs to come back to. It'll make it a whole lot easier to talk to our bank manager.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bone crushing disease, typhoid and other pleasures of the Caribbean

On the way to any great journey there are hazards. How the traveller meets those hazards is telling of whether or not the outcome will be successful, I believe.

So it is that we met with Nurse Anne and Dr. Stephenson at the Ancaster Travel Clinic and were given at least one forest worth of paper describing what ailments might await us on our trip and how best to try (not one is 100 per cent) to avoid them.

For example, Dengue Fever (it's other intimidating name is bone crushing disease) has no prevention (unless I missed that in the file). It's a matter of good luck lad and have at it.

However, we dutifully lined up and got poked by Nurse Anne to prevent typhoid. It was after the poking (executed with way too much cheerfulness) that she mentioned a couple of stiff tabs of Pepto Bismal does wonders. As does boiling everything.

Oh well, at least the poster offering a number of colourful synonyms of travellers' diarrhea happily distracted the younger two members of the family from the perils that await. Puerto Plata Splata is my personal favourite.

So, we have amassed a terrific amount of information. Plus we jammed in a whirlwind tour of the Hamilton OHIP office and the passport office which were both shockingly efficient before our trip to the travel clinic.

This weekend Scott, Aidan and I are taking a St. John's Ambulance course to learn Emergency First Aid and CPR. Reg is one step up, certifying as a lifeguard next weekend and already attaining Standard First Aid. Trouble is, he's not around for a few months so we're on our own for a bit.

Now that we're equipped with sore arms from a series of vaccinations, a mitful of prescriptions and quite a few more things to worry about, I feel more properly prepared.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Getting ahead of the head

The former owner of our boat installed what I'm sure he thought was a wonderful addition, a fancy electric head - a Vaccu-flush system with a macerator.

Unfortunately, this sucker is complicated, comes with a 74-page manual that Scott had to read three years ago during the night in order to make repairs I will not describe. (By the way, fixing the head is definitely on his job description).

This head also came with a stainless steel holding tank. We discovered these are not ironclad, so to speak, despite their hefty price tag.

In April, Scott stepped aboard to lift off the tarp and heard a bang. It was the implosion of the walls of the holding tank due to a vaccuum created in the tank from a stopped vent.

The long and the short of this means that we ended up hauling the sucker out of the boat (after Scott hand pumped out 10 leftover gallons of ??). This helped the smell on the boat considerably. We discovered that the sensor on the tank had been leaking slightly and that the piece of teak holding the tank in the V-berth locker was, um, not good to leave on the boat. So we removed it, used it to make a model of a new piece of wood, painted the wood with bilge paint and are replacing that. Already, with the new hoses, plugs and taps, we are well on our way to updating the old plumbing.

So far, however, the stainless holding tank, is remaining stubbornly misshapen.

We may have to look at replacing it with a plastic one.

One more thing....