Wetter Weather and Thoughts On the Great Melt-Down 10 Years Ago.

We are getting hit with rain, as the rainy season kicks in, though seemingly earlier than last year, it is welcomed. And I just realized that this week marks the tenth anniversary of the 2008 Great Melt-Down, that crashed the markets and change the world, unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In all, the week is going good. Work is chugging along, and I am almost finished unpacking all of my boxes from the time I moved here to Thornhill, BC.

I was surprised that the Forest Fire Rating was set back to Low so quickly. We are only less than two weeks into the rainy season, and the rains seems lighter this year, so I was looking at the Forest Rating sign a little puzzled, as the arrow was placed in the green section. I thought that this might be to soon. Well, even the website says it “Low,” so who am I to argue. The good news, the campfire ban is lifted, so get out, in the rain, and have a camp fire. Oddly, camping season is also over too.

I was checking my journals from a decade ago, and came upon an entry from September, 27 2008. At the time I was living in Fort Langley, BC, working for Bell Canada. I wrote about all the news of the Melt-Down, and how it seemed, “over exaggerated.” Boy was I wrong; the news was correct, as my work saw over 150 employees in October 2008 get laid-off. All around me, nothing seemed secure and talks of lower Interest Rates and Buy-Out for Banks, blanketed the news. The cause and effects, they said would last for years.

Reading an on-line article on the BBC’s website, today, about the effects of the Melt-Down, the developed nations around the world have been experiencing lower than predicted birth rates. Yes, I only need to look at the schools around the Skeena Valley, to see this. The schools are half the size they were when I went to them. Home ownership is another one, as more younger people are renting because they cannot afford the market value for homes. And then there are the lack of good paying jobs. Yes, lots of low-paying jobs to go around, but few sustainable jobs to build a family with. So it looks like Generation Screwed is going to morph into the following generation with these market effects. The BBC article did say it could take another twenty years before we see the glory days of the pre ’08 era back, but the Market landscape has forever changed.

This week, I should have all my boxes sorted and unpacked. A few weeks ago I bought four sets of shelves, and that so far, has made unpacking nicer. I have a very small “compartment,” and brought an entire house with me. So, a sizable amount will live in boxes, until need, but the good news is, have more living space. I hope I find better living arrangements soon.

Rain–It’s On Its Way

The wet season is on its way, as is part of our normal weather ways, and already I am hearing the locals moan and groan. The wet season is part of the landscape, and a fact, but it is changing. No one could have predicted the two months of reaching a “Level – 4 Drought” conditions, over the summer months of July and August. So the question everyone is asking, what kind of winter will we have this year?

Winters, when I a young child, growing up in the Skeena Valley, I remember winters fell into one of three categories. One, a super cold and snowy winter. Two, a dry and cold with little snow. Three, The brown, supper mild, with nothing but rain. This year, all bets are off, it seems.

I drove by the fire rating sign on Keith Avenue (or Highway 16 west bound) today, and it was showing “High,” so I gather the forest is still far from wet enough to lower it. Even with the cool and overcast days, the forest could still, potentially go up in flames. Thankfully, we have had no forest fires near us. Very happy about that!

The Unofficial End to Summer is Here.

It is over: August, summer and those warm and cosy long days. The last blast of our extremely hot and dry seems to be coming to an end. It has been quite the season, to say the least. This year will go down in the record books for one of the driest summer here on the North West Coast. With the golden lawns and water restrictions still in place, we did very good as a community. In all, I am glad to see the rains return, and along with it, the clouds and cooler weather. My tan, well that does not look like it is fading any time soon. Oh yes, the State Run baby sitter starts up next week–beware that traffic at school zones.

As of today, the forest fire rating is still in the “Extreme,” with camp fire bands still in effect. Even though we are getting overcast skies, and some precipitation, it is not enough to quench the forests thirst. For example, at the for-way stop, there was a large backhoe clearing the trees to make way for the yet to be constructed Round-a-about at the junction of Highway 16, and 36 in Thornhill, BC, and seeing the soil, it was dry and dusty–as the rain fell. So, even thought I am not an expert on forest management, as a lay person, I can tell you that the forest is still extremely dry.

Camp fire bans are still in effect, with the exception of Ferry Island within the municipality of Terrace, BC. For me this make sense, as it is an island surrounded by the Skeena River. If the place did catch fire from a run-away camp fire, the likelihood of the fire spreading into the neighbouring forest is very low. Though with the extreme weather conditions I see, this might be risk, but that is why we insure our homes and property–right.

The young ones start their time at the institutions next week. As their little mind get moulded into socially fit individuals, parents breath sighs of relief, as they can continue with their careers, and paying for the respite. Yes, I am talking about schools opening up next week, and the dangers of roads lined with kids. Beware, and be vigilant, keeping an eye out for wondering young ones must be top of mind when starting your commute on Tuesday morning. At least I am lucky in this sense as my commute does not take me through any School Zones on my way to work.

I am planning on an easy, no frills, weekend. With the long weekend, I plan on completing my unpacking that started a year ago. As it looks like I will be staying here longer than I expected, I might as well make it more of a home. Right now, today, I am hanging photos, most from last month–just to brighten up the place. This weekend will be a low impact one, with my itinerary wide open with nothingness–but filled with goodness. Place large smile here.

An Actioned Packed Weekend, So Lets Go!

Me and Suz, have a lot going on for this weekend. Tomorrow, we are heading over to Smithers, BC for the Bulkley Valley Fall Fair, which should take up the whole day, and among the stops we have planed, we want to check out the Kayak Store along the highway just before Smithers. I know we will not get back to Thornhill until very late. Right now, at work, the day had been crazy busy–not to mention–another hot day.

I guess I should mention some stuff about work while I am here. I had my Inventory Day, last Monday. It went, with no troubles, but there were a couple of snags. The network for the scanners went down, and I thought I was going to have to do some overtime, but thankfully that never happened. The network went back up an hour later, and I breathed a sigh if relief. I was prepared for the event, even though it was supposed to be a spot-type inspection. When you can see the patterns and stock purchases, you can sort of guess what is about to happened. They like to load you up with new/fresh product before you get a request to do the Inventory, so I saw it coming. I planned for it. It paid off: only taking me less than three hours to complete.

You know when you got the job down to a “science,” when you can anticipate when management will need something. On Wednesday, I decided to do a mini audit of outstanding product that our supply-chian has been slow on bringing in, so sure enough, that day I got a call to prepare a list for the top-boss. I waited a bit, to appear that I was slaving away, then submitted it to them. At the end of the day, I got the standard congratulatory “pat on the back” for doing a stellar job. Sure, I will take it. Just wish I could cash it in for some extra money. (place smile here).

Well, better get ready for tomorrow. We are going to hear out tonight for a little while, then head to bed early for a early start on the road. Well, that is the plane.

Some Like it Hot, and Some Maybe Not.

Having lived in Ontario, and the last twenty-five years in the Lower Mainland, hot up here on the North Coast, is a walk in the park. I have been to Spain, France and Brazil, during their summer periods, and have experienced heat beyond belief, so you might have to excuse me if I am not too overly excited about our warm weather. The air is hot, but nothing close to the extremes that I have experienced. Yes, I have been in weather that would make lawn furniture melt–I am not kidding.

There are tricks to keeping cool that I find really work, like drink lots of water, and keep to the shade, but sometimes an air conditioned room is the best place to be. For me, it is sleeping at night, during heat-waves, that is the problem. If it is hot and muggy, sleeping is rough, and I never get that quality of sleep that I need. I am also lucky that my work is in doors. I used to work outside, or in closed in warehouses, and found that learning to sweat was a big part of it, and dealing with heat rashes too. In general I slow down and take it easy, and sometimes telling the boss “I quit,” as part of that process, when they want you to double their production of shipping air conditioners out. Either way, dealing with the heat means doing everything you can to keep cool and hydrated.

Back on Monday, I heard of some kids, at one of the summer day camps here in Terrace, trying to fry an egg outside. It did not work for them as well as they thought it would. I guess it was still not hot enough for that. Perhaps next Friday, as rumour has it, we could get our hottest day yet, a whopping 34C, but I fear that might even be hot enough to fry an egg on the side-walk.

I for one will be enjoying this very nice weather. I have some time booked off from my work, so I might stick around town for it. We have our week long River Boat Days festivities then, so this might be an awesome time! Oh yeah, summer time!

Fireworks at Kitimat BC for Canada Day 2018

We drove back to Kitimat, BC to see the Canada Day fireworks that started at 11:00pm. They lasted about twenty minutes, and were pretty impressive. Other than the mosquitoes, it was an awesome night. The sky cleared up, with very little clouds to threaten us with rain, and it fairly warm too. We parked away from the main parking lot and park to get better shots, and I think it paid off as far as the photos go.

Perhaps we will come back next year!

Happy Canada Day 2018!

“Let the good times roll,” as they say, whisking off first thing this morning to Kitimat, BC to see the parade and other events there. We left around 9:30ish but did not get there until well after 10:00am, as we took our time on the roads–safety first you know. We found a very good parking spot and chose our spot to see the parade, mingled around a bit, everything we great, except for the threat of rain. We brought rain gear and jackets, so we were prepared!

Oddly enough, once the parade started, the Sun poked through the clouds and only sprinkled a couple of times, until the parade was finished, then it let go with a good shower that soaked everything. Oh Mother Nature! So we went from jackets, to shirts, then to rain jackets, in twenty minutes. This is North Coast living in June and July. The great things was the wind (or breeze as we call it here) seem to drive the mosquitoes away–not one bite.

The above image is a City West person in a “Bucket” on a truck, about ten metres in the air, waving the flag along the parade. City West, is the local Cable and Phone company for the North Coast area. They usually hit every event in the North Coast, and as always, they are usually the ones with the most flags on their floats. But there were lots of flags around!

This was my very first time in Kitimat, BC at the Canada Day parade, so all of this was awesome to see. For a small town, they put on a nice event. The Mall had lots of vendors and displays to visit, and tonight we are going back, to see the fireworks, which are huge here. Kitimat is only a fifty-eight kilometre drive away, so we can do it in about forty minutes.

So HAPPY CANADA Day!!!!

Scored “Awesome” On My Work Audit!

I scored unbelievably well on my work audit. I passed my first year on the job with flying colours, according to my Supervisor. In fact, he told me that he does not like giving out perfect scores, he had to deduct a few points on some over-stock issues I had, but those were minor. Needless to say, I had a near perfect score over-all. He was very pleased.

On Tuesday morning, my supervisor appeared at the office door, totally unannounced, and yelled, “surprise.” He mentioned a few months back that our annual audits were coming up, and that we should be ready for an unexpected visit, by him, to be audited. As promised, he made good on his word. He caught me in the middle of receiving a huge order that just came in, so he saw me in action, in the middle of a chaotic moment, which was good, but shocked the heck out of me. He came in, sat down, and made himself at home on the spare desk. The audit started. 

He checked everything. From my filing, to the placement of the welcome mat at the front door, it all was checked off. Then he went through one year’s worth of inventory, plus the paperwork that came with it, he looked at everything. Nothing was left unturned. Even my email (over twelve months worth) was checked, more of less, to see if I was following up, and replying to everyone.

Today at 3:30pm, it ended. He smiled and said, “you scored ninety-nine per-cent, but I have not given out out a perfect score yet, but I had to dock you on the over-stock issue you have in two places.” So my actual score is 99.5 per cent. In my book, that is an A+!

I will not find out until he has completed all the remote warehouses to see if I scored the highest, or not. He was very pleased, and told me that he was happy that he hired me from all the applicants from last year, when the position came available. He will be with me for a couple of hours tomorrow, until his flight leaves for his next Audit. So maybe five or six more weeks I will know where I stand overall with my score out of all the other warehouses.

Happy Summer Everyone: My First Year On the North Coast!

First, happy summer everyone. Hard to believe that it is here, being that most of May and the last half of June already felt like summer. Second, today marks my first anniversary living back in the Skeena Valley, on the North Coast of British Columbia. And lastly, and this might as well be a tradition now, my photos of around my home and work, on the first day summer, the summer Solstice. Yes, it feels like it was yesterday when I moved here. But anyway….

I started today with a bang, literally, like thunder and lightening kind of “bang.” As I was driving to work, I saw a flash of light, way off in the distance. Looking towards the West, along the valley, going towards Prince Rupert, I saw this was rather looking darker than usual set of clouds. It was a small bunch of storm clouds, and from it produced the odd flash of lightening, about ten to twenty strikes per hour. Now before you get all, “So big deal, yeah, I seen way more than that…” let me point out that getting thunderstorms in Terrace is rare. This place is almost void of lightening, and one may see this, maybe once or twice a year. So forgive me if I sound too excited about this. *smile* But it was awesome to look at. I just wish I had brought my tripod so I could have photographed it.

So, back to the Solstice… Today is the longest day of the year. This is cool, as up here, it never gets even close to dark, for twenty-four hours it just gets twilight. Yes, it is hard on sleeping, but a good set of black-out blinds on your windows will fix that. At my place, sleeping is not a problem from this. But the heat has been an issue over the last couple of days. Being the first day summer, sort of makes me wonder if this is just the beginning of our heat-wave.

Here is what outside looked like this morning at first light. I took this around 5:45am, just behind my work. As the storm clouds were coming in from the West, the East was almost void of them. Already at 16C, the day was starting out real muggy, and the A/C in the building had already started. Anyway, the morning light was awesome to photograph in, really nice light was getting in.

I put the camera away around 9:00am, as it started to rain, though it was just a sprinkle that fell, and that quickly dried up, but I was at work, and work needed to be done, why I get paid the big dollars. But the clouds were awesome, as the little mini storm cells were popping up everywhere overhead. With the right light, the clouds had a real dynamic feel to them, so I had to get some shots of them as the storm system rolled on by (on my break, of course).

Well, here I am, my first year back in Terrace behind me, and I feel great, well planed. And I have to give all my gratitude to my awesome friend Suz., who makes living here the best place on Earth. I thank you! Happy First Day of Sumner! May we have many more years together here in the Skeena Valley.

The End of Spring Mini Heat Wave

When I moved away from the Fraser Valley, to the North Coast, thinking I would leave the long days of heat filled summers behind, I am starting to think that was bad thinking. Last year, after I moved up here to Thornhill, we only had a week of 30C plus days, and that was fallowed with mild days for the rest of the summer, that were comfortable, in my opinion. But so far this year it has been “Lower Mainland” hot, and to the point that my Air Conditioner had been running half the day for the last three days. Yes, the one thing that I almost left behind, and I was happy I took my precious air conditioner. 

When I woke yesterday for work, it felt like I was living in Vancouver again. It was unreal as I drove to work, at 5:30am this morning, turning on the A/C in the car, to keep the mugginess out of the air–yes I had the A/C on, driving through Terrace, BC!

What was posted on the Environment Canada’s website, has not been what we are getting as far as temperatures and humidity goes for the down town Terrace area. When they say we should have 30C, we are getting 36C. When they say, “Rain and Thunder Storms,” we get a sunny day. Even our rate of rain has been very low and spotty at best over the last few weeks of the spring season, even raising the Forest Fire Rating to “High” in just a couple of days, after it was set to “low” for a week before. 

Tomorrow is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and we are already ahead in terms of above average temperatures as we end the spring season. It is looking like we might be in for another very bad forest fire season. I would even go as far to say, “the North Coast will suffer drought conditions,” as we go into the last half of 2018.