Jan 08

Mother Nature Is A Temper-mental B@%tch

I would like to start by thanking Air Canada for the less than lovely return flight to Calgary. When the line up to board our flight began I saw someone ahead of us be asked to wait off to the side for a moment. Thats when I realized the Bird probably wasn’t getting on the plane. After showing my boarding pass and continuing, the Bird realized he was wasn’t getting on the plane too. Thanks to some crafty manipulation of facts and information by an employee of Air Canada I was convinced that staying on that plane was a better choice than my offer to give up my seat and wait with the Bird. After all I would only have to wait 2 hours in Calgary for his flight to land as he was getting on the next flight. With the efficiency and organization of a Mexican election, the national airline finally got me to Calgary and the Bird arrived 35 minutes later wearing wrinkled clothes and a sheepish grin, neither of which I haven’t seen before. The wrinkled clothes are the result of being not so carefully packed in a hockey bag while still partially wet and left to freeze in the trunk of the green goblin for three weeks in the parking lot in Calgary.

Anyway, we’re back in Hudson’s Hope at Aaron and Lannie’s now(Lannie loves the wrinkled clothes). For the past few days we’ve been house guests of two very hospitable and generous people and I can’t thank them enough for being such amazing hosts. Their sons, Keegan and Austin are a lot of fun to be around and it seems they have an endless supply of books for me to read to them. The boys like to sit on the couch with me and read read read. Austin usually likes to sit right up on my lap while Keegan sits beside me. It reminds of when the princesses were little and used to sit with me all the time.

The weather here has been abnormally warm recently so that creates a problem for building ice roads. So we wait. While it sucks that we aren’t working right now because of the weather it has given me the opportunity meet some more friends of the Bird and I now have seen for myself that the roads in Northern BC actually are paved. I met some of the Bird’s friends back in November and we’ve seen them again which has been great and now I’ve met Deb, Kimmy K and Johnny. Deb owns a restaurant here in Hudson’s Hope where we had some fantastic Burritos(the refried beans should be working soon). Kimmy loves animals, except maybe a few unmentionable breeds with sharp teeth and tendencies to bite. Johnny is Julie’s husband, I met Julie back in November. I met Johnny two days ago as he was standing in the middle of the road yelling “Hey Bird, we gotta get the loaves flowing”. That will make more sense when I tell you that Johnny works for the town of Hudson’s Hope and his crew was making good use of the sewer flushing machine. Later that day we went to Julie and Johnny’s for a visit. That was fun. The Bird had a few beer while Johnny drank his Bombay gin and told stories, Julie sat wrapped in a blanket drinking her organic beer and bemoaning the fact that none of her kids have made her a grandmother yet. As we left Johnny told us that Sunday will be “mischief day”, Julie has to work and he’s got a bonfire ready to go! Sounds like fun to me.

Almost spoiled my lunch.

Saturday was fun. My day started with 2 cups of coffee and about 12 books with the boys. Then we drove to Fort St. John to pick up Yvette for lunch. Even though we told her it was optional she decided she would get dressed for the occasion. Probably a good idea, although it’s unseasonably warm here, its still hovering around the freezing point. We went to Tony Roma’s for lunch. The food was good and the service was poor, although they were nice enough to not charge the Bird for food he didn’t get, so that was good. I managed to prove to Yvette that chivalry isn’t dead yet by graciously offering to sit in the back of the goblin and let her climb through the window of the temporarily out of order passenger door. The three of us spent the fun filled afternoon browsing through thrift shops, safety stores and Mark’s Work Warehouse. Basically just a day of general mayhem and assorted shenanigans(the word shenanigans was specifically used for Yvette). Many people may not realize that the word is derived from the Shenanigoa Indian tribe of northern Arizona. They were a pleasant tribe known for playing harmless pranks on the early settlers as they moved west across the desert. Yvette mentioned she has always been a fan of the word so I thought I would share that fact.

After parting ways the Bird and I picked up a few items for Lannie at the local grocer, enjoyed some mediocre service at Tim Hortons and headed back to Hudson’s Hope. Lannie created a delicious meal while Aaron and the Bird relived days gone by and I spent some time with the boys and Dr. Suess. After a somewhat heated debate the three of us sided with the fish and agreed that the Cat in the Hat should not be in the house while the mother is out!

The night winded down while Aaron and Lannie got the boys to bed and the Bird tried unsuccessfully to upload the video of Yvette gracefully entering the green goblin through the window. The video would’ve aired today but apparently Mother Bird is at a birthday party doing Jello shots out of the navel of a sweaty eastern European stripper named “Vlad the Impaler”. Apparently he’s also known as the “Pole”, I would assume it’s because he’s from Poland.

Anyway, hopefully Mother nature gets her act together and turns the heat off so we can make some ice. I’ve never been known for liking weather but I’m out here to work, so lets get winter rockin so we can build some ice roads and come home.

Where there’s a will…there’s usually relatives fighting over it.

Love Always

Dec 28

Christmas in the Castle


It took eight days and a crap load of frustration but my right ear finally came unplugged yesterday. Not being able to hear out of one side of your head is not all bad. If you choose the proper place to sit you only hear half the insults!

Christmas isn’t what it used to be around Chin’s castle. Back when the princesses were young and didn’t sleep until the middle of the day, Christmas morning started around 5am, if I managed to sleep that long. I was always the first one out of bed, and that hasn’t changed, I would make coffee, phone my Mom and my brother and they would get here before I eagerly awakened the ladies. Then the mountain of presents would be excitedly turned into a mountain of paper and boxes, ready for the recycle, followed by the Chinster creating a huge breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and whatever else anyone wanted to eat. A little downtime during the midday and it was out to Cold Springs for dinner at the sister’s house. Since those days things have changed, the girls are older, my Mom has passed on, and Christmas is a much quieter day now.

This year I was again the first one up and I immediately headed for the coffee maker. Thanks to Lakefront Utilities and the ever convenient two and half hour power outage Christmas morning, I had to be content with one cup of coffee and the thrill of watching neighbors take their turkeys to their cars in the hopes of finding a working oven. By 9am the poultry parade had ended and I decided to go see my best friend and check out what Santa had brought him.

The relationship I share with this friend is very special to me for many reasons. He is the type of person that can bring a smile to my face no matter what mood I’m in, or in spite of how down I’m feeling or how frustrated I am. He has the ability to make me realize that no matter what, it’s the little things in life that count. There is no special speech or comment that he makes, he just has a love of life that is infectious and can spread to anyone lucky enough to be near him. I went to visit him the day after I got home last week and the moment he saw me he screamed “CHIN” then gave me a huge hug and started to cry because he was so happy to see me. All that after being away for one month? Who can honestly tell me they don’t want that in their life? After the big hug he immediately started making plans to go to see a movie because that’s what we like to do occasionally, or we cruise around town while he yells at pretty girls from the window of my van! The happiness my buddy exudes would bring a smile to anybody’s face in the blink of an eye. Now before anybody starts thinking that my best friend is perhaps an unemployed pervert who likes coming on to girls from the safety of a passing vehicle let me tell you a bit about him. He is 24 years old, has Down’s Syndrome and was the first child with Down’s to ever have a heart transplant. Shortly after he was born, the doctors at Sick Kids Hospital said he wouldn’t live past the age of 10, at the most! He has spent more time in Sick Kids than most of the staff there and has endured more pain than anybody I know. His mother died several years ago after being diagnosed with a brain tumor one week after her wedding. His stepfather, who by the way is one of my very truest and closest friends, has raised him along with his grandmother for most of his life. Despite all of these hurdles being constantly thrown in front of him the smiles and cheerfulness go on.

So, Christmas morning comes and I go to my buddy’s house. As usual he greets me with a hug and excitement to see me. I’m shown all the presents under the tree for him and this immediately makes my day. After spending about an hour with him and his family I return home to the castle and decide it’s about time to wake the princesses from their slumber. As they wipe the sleep from their eyes I sit nervously, hoping they are pleased with the personally engraved iPads I got them. Luckily, they were.

The rest of the day was spent in Cold Springs with the family and a terrific dinner and the usual jabs of sarcasm and insults shared between siblings during every family occasion.

On another note, as I comfortably lay dozing on the couch last night my cell phone rang. A welcome phone call from Dean in Newfoundland just to say Merry Christmas and ask how my holidays are going. We went over our schedules to make sure we touch base when we are back in BC and hope to work together again. That was nice.

I’m not sure how this post looks since the Bird gave me access to post without him editing first, and because it’s a different format that I have to get used to, so if it’s kinda screwy, my apologies. The Bird sent me a message yesterday telling me that he got a few emails asking when I was going to post again. I think it’s a ploy just to get me to write again but that’s ok. If it’s true, let me know who you are people. I’m interested to know who finds the mundane life of the Chin to be so interesting.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid all together!

Love always and Merry Christmas

Chin and the Princesses

PS. Whenever life gets you down, just think of my buddy and how he can smile everyday!

Dec 20

Good People

Well the Bird is well on his way to Calgary, I got here just before 7 pm and promptly managed to switch to a flight for 8am tomorrow after some headshaking red tape with the national airline. Since the Bird’s plan was to keep the schedule we originally had I left his as is, only to have the Bird ask if I could get his changed. After some well placed compliments and a little bat of the eyes, the lovely and not totally unpleasant Amy from Air Canada made it happen. I get home to the princesses earlier and the Bird is ecstatic that he will be in the loving arms of the “Bird to Be” that much sooner. Everybody(except the princesses) is happy.

While the Bird has spent the day behind the wheel, yours truly hopped on the company charter in Fort Nelson. Sounds good right? Well…it was! The only downside was the stops along the way. Fort St John, Grand Prairie, Edmonton and finally Calgary. The upside was my flying companions, namely Dean and Jamie. Two of the three fantastic newfies I met in camp. I’ve been on night shift with Dean as my foreman for about two weeks and I don’t know how anybody could be a better boss or person. We ate meals together, sat through safety meetings together, worked together and laughed together, but most of all we became good friends. The other two newfies, Jamie and Russell, I don’t know quite as well but I can safely say they are high quality as well. Jamie bought dinner for Dean and I at Montana’s in the airport and Russell is probably going to kill Dean and I for giving his phone number and address to Forrest. Forrest is a really good hearted, well meaning young fella that Dean and I took shine to. We like Forrest and Russell does too.

This whole time at camp was an excellent experience for me. I wish I had done this much earlier in my life sometimes, but if I had who’s to say I would have met these people. My life has been enriched by these new friends and I hope I have made their days a little brighter in return.

I know a lot of really good people and I am blessed in that regard. I also know a lot of not so good people but they get skidded(refer to previous post) because I don’t need or want that in my life. I’ve always said that if you can count on one hand the amount of true friends you have, I mean the friends that don’t care what time of day you need help burying a body they just show up with a shovel and bitch about it, but still help, than you are a very lucky person. I am a very lucky person!

I don’t know why it was so easy to make friends at camp. Maybe it has to do with the isolation or the fact that nobody has it any better than the next person. We all eat the same food, more or less wear the same clothes and we all live in identical nine by six rooms and have the same twenty four channels of sh@# on the tv. Regardless of why, it just seemed easy. I haven’t had so many laughing good times compressed into a month in I don’t know how long. This past month has really been a healthy soul cleansing experience for me and that is just what I needed after becoming tired of the drudgery of work-a-day life back home. From the moment the Bird picked me up in Cobourg, I have had nothing short of one hell of a fantastic time(that doesn’t include the periods of borderline depression from princess withdrawal, that gets fixed tomorrow and not a moment too soon). The Bird has been a willing accomplice in most of the good times and he has done a ton of chuckling along the way as well.

If there are any young people reading this, male or female, who are struggling with boredom and frustration about employment, I would not hesitate to recommend a journey like this to them. Not only would they learn how to live, work and co-exist with people of all different places and backgrounds but with the money being so good it would be a great start to post secondary funding.

I guess all in all, what I’m saying is that I am really glad I took the chance to come out here. I have heard people say that they want to do it and they are going to do it, and I think they should do it(or shut up finally).

I’ll end this on the thoughts of five very special people, Bailey, Virginia, Gerri, Tanis and Olivia. Chris and I miss you beautiful ladies so much that it brings us to tears. We’ll be home soon!


When the power of love overcomes the love of power…man will know peace!




P.S. If Pike Pole even thinks about making a man card comment, I will personally ram a live raccoon up his ass!

(editors note: I will have him bent over the stump for you.)

Dec 19

Stupidity Runs Deep


I don’t really know where to begin because I’ve seen, endured, been a part of and, believe it or not, perpetrated my share of stupidity. For reasons of possible self incrimination, I’ll just relay some of my observations and leave my own indiscretions for another day.

I like to think that there are only two types of stupid, avoidable and un-avoidable. The avoidable strain tends to have mitigating factors such as alcohol, money and horny, those three factors can usually be grouped into one on any given weekend. The un-avoidable brand of stupid is the result of genetic roulette.

Might be the stupid...or possibly the syphillis

The Bird mentioned in one of his posts that someone got kicked out of camp(skidded) for smoking in the dorm. That falls into the avoidable column.  Ya…you may be thinking that it is a failure in the intelligence area and should be listed as un-avoidable we have to go deeper into the story.
A couple weeks ago on a Monday(everyday is Monday here) I was talking to Pipeline Val during dinner. She told me that a guy who just got to camp met her and another lass in the hallway of our dorm and he was hammered. Apparently he took a shine to one of the lasses and tried some Romeo moves with no success. He got skidded immediately and everybody’s comment was along the line of “how stupid can you be”. Everybody here knows there is no booze, drugs or smoking in the dorms. The next night, Monday, security knocks on my door just after I crawl into the fart sac because they are trying to find out who is smoking in their room.  The search was unsuccessful. I guess the culprit felt invincible because the next night, Monday, they decided to light up in their room again….BUSTED! Barnaby Jones was hot on the trail and made the collar. The lady was immediately told she was no longer welcome here. Now for the un-avoidable stupidity. Good ole Pipeline go to the other lasses room to get the lowdown on events, and after hearing the story thinks to herself “since she already got caught and is being skidded, I guess it’s safe for me to light one up in her room  while she’s packing”. Although I’m not a fan, I think Jeff Foxworthy sums it up pretty good…Here’s Your Sign! Barnaby Jones swoops in and it’s adios to Pipeline Val too. For me, the funniest part of it was hearing that on the way out both of the women tried to blame the other one. Ultimately they are both out over ten grand a month for stupidity.

Not really...

I can think of many more cases of stupidity but right now I have better things to talk about. So far it’s been a great time out here, it would be better if the Bird and I were on the same shift, but that would mean he has to work nights or I would have to work with different people. Neither one of us want to do that. As good as it has been here, I want to go home! I miss my girls! The closer it gets to going home, the more I miss them. Kind of a cruel juxtaposition. I’m told there should be enough room on the Flint charter to Calgary tomorrow and I’m hoping I can cajole Air Canada into putting me on a red eye a day earlier than my scheduled flight. If things work out I’ll make it to Toronto a day early and surprise the princesses, or I’ll be stuck in Fort Nelson because Andrew’s math was wrong and the charter is full. Should be an adventure either way.
The Bird will be busy driving for the next couple days so I will do my best to keep you updated on my whereabouts. If all goes well, I’ll be on a bus to Fort Nelson at 9am, then fly to Fort St. John, then fly to Grand Prairie, then fly to Edmonton, then fly to Calgary, then whine my way onto a flight to Toronto and find my way to Cobourg. It’s a simple as that. If my foolproof plan falls apart, I’ll be home around 1am Wednesday morning.

It’s a small world….but I wouldn’t want to paint it!
Love Chin

Nov 25

Take it from the Chin


Spent the entire day at hydrogen sulphide(H2S) training. I should say it was incredibly informative and could prove life saving but that would take away from the overwhelming boredom that actually filled the day. Oh well, it’s done now and I can truly say that at this moment I am more qualified than the Bird!

The other down side of the boredom is the opportunity to realize that I miss the princesses. For anyone who doesn’t know who they are, I’ll tell you now. The princesses are my two daughters. My princesses are a little older than the “baby birds” but from my perspective I can say that the Bird is equally attached to his nestlings as I am to the princesses. I’m impressed with the Bird, I can relate to joining a family that is already in progress and it’s not as easy as one might think. I’ve shared many of my stories of raising the ladies and he has shared as well. Hopefully, some of my experience has helped the Bird. If not, I know he will do well because he loves the Baby Birds with all his heart and Mother Bird will guide him.

Speaking of Mother Bird, I would like to thank her for being so cool. I almost feel as though I’ve become an honorary member of the flock and that is pretty cool.

Back to the princesses. I miss them terribly but I know they are doing just fine. They were very supportive of me coming out here for a little while and the older princess even told me that she was proud of me. That brought tears to my eyes. Normally it’s me who is proud of them, and for good reason. Both of my girls do very well in school, they are kind and polite to everybody that they know and meet, and both of them actively volunteer in the community. If that don’t make a papa proud, I sure don’t know what will. Luckily with technology today I can keep in touch with the princesses all the time, although it seems to me that they would like it to be a little less often. But if they are princesses, that makes me the king! Everybody knows that the king makes the rules so I call whenever I want.

The king also has a large royal family he’d like to thank for helping make sure the princesses are taken care of. Without them I wouldn’t be able to be out here with the Bird.

You may have noticed that the title and the ramblings don’t really have anything to do with one another. I just thought it was funny how people out here refer to the plentiful deer as goats.

Be safe people….never pet a burning dog!