Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Arctic always wins

I think we're currently in one of these windows of time where the Arctic is personally reminding us who is in charge. You can get lax living up here sometimes, especially in Iqaluit. We have it relatively easy in Iqaluit compared to the rest of Nunavut which is why I generally don't like complaining when little inconveniences crop up. Compared to the challenges that come with living in place like Arctic Bay or Igloolik, the hassles we face here are very minor. So we try to be zen.

Besides, picking a fight with the Arctic is always a losing proposition. It will always win. There are time when I think that the Arctic is just luring us in with climate change. Then, one year, we're going to start getting winters that last 10 months and never get above -40C. Over the howling of the winds you could probably hear the Arctic chuckling, "Is that the best you got, bitches?"

As I said, I can be lured into the occasional romantic hopeless cause, but taking on the Arctic....that's just insane.

So what has been thrown at us recently that's causing this self-examination? Oh, nothing dramatic. On their own I might not have even noticed them. But a few things came to a head today, which is why I'm thinking on it.

There's the truck, for example. The driver's side door handle snapped off during a blizzard/ice storm a few weeks ago. Down south, a quick trip to the garage. Up here, three weeks later and I'm still waiting for the garage to get a handle shipped in. I managed to lose my care keys. Annoying, but we have a spare. Down south, quick trip to Canadian Tire. Up here, nobody has that particular kind of key, so we can't get another one cut.

One of the tires was running low on air. There are three gas stations in town. One doesn't have an air hose, the other one's was broken. The last one had an air hose - but they charged for it. Yes, today I paid for air. Welcome to the north.

For the better part of the last two weeks Northwest Tel has been having intermittent Internet failures. Nothing has dramatic as the Internet disappearing and you have to wait for three days for the parts and technician to fly in with the parts. Something as simple as the signal will drop out for 10-15 seconds and then pop back in magically. Except it's been doing this non-stop for days now. I thought it might be a problem with my modem or the router, but no, others are going through it as well.

A little nuisance, but one where after a few days you start asking, "why can't you fix this already?" Then again, Northwest Tel has managed to completely screw up the government phone system no less than three times so far this year.

It's the north. Complain about the service and how much you pay for it, they come back with how expensive it is to operate, then challenges of providing good service and how had it is to hire skilled professionals.

Today we also went to pick up our Cape Dorset print, which we love and were eager to get our hands on. There's a guy in town who does framing, so we were hopeful that this print could be done here in town.

Oh, here's the print, by the way.

Alas, this is the print back in our apartment. Why? The guy can't do the framing up here after all. Turns out the print is that much too big for his equipment. There are other options, but we're concerned as it involves sending it out for framing and then them shipping it back. But as the guy pointed out, there's a better than 50 per cent chance the glass gets shattered on the way up, ruining the print. Apparently more than 50 per cent of the glass he orders for his framing businesses gets broken on the way from Ottawa to here.

So we're now once again faced with what to do with an absolutely beautiful print that we desperately want to hang on our wall, but don't know how to go about doing it. We're both kind of depressed about it, really.

Hell, I even thought briefly today that we might eke out a small victory. When buying $85 worth of gas (our gas is insanely expensive because the year's supply was bought when oil was $140 a barrel, as opposed to the $50 dollars or so it is now), I popped into the gas bar. Where they sell McDonald's hamburgers, specially shipped up from Ottawa.

"What they hell," I thought, "We're having a less than great day, let's treat ourselves." So after spending almost $15 on a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and a Big Mac, we bring them home to heat them up. Only to discover there is no lettuce and secret sauce on the Big Mac.

The Arctic has managed to deprive of us of even a junk food treat. It is devious.

I'm not completely oblivious to the shallowness of my complaining, by the way. As I said, there are people in smaller communities to the north that go through daily hassles that would drive me nuts. We haven't had to go through what poor Rob and Tina have, which I assure you would have sent me on a murderous rampage through their town looking for the culprits. And I didn't die working at a Wal-Mart this week, unlike this poor bastard.

We'll get over it. It's just today, well, bugger.

Last Five
1. I think I smell a rat - The White Stripes
2. A rush of blood to the head - Coldplay
3. Chillout tent - The Hold Steadys
4. Well alright! - The Hives*
5. Sweet fire of love - Robbie Robertson


Mireille Sampson said...

Plexiglass instead of real glass. It's scratches, but I've never heard of it shattering. It costs 3X as much as regular glass, but you'll be able to ship it wherever/whenever you move in the future without worrying about a sliced and diced piece of artwork. Maybe the local guy could even make the rest of the frame. Opus framing and art supplies in Vancouver does plexi and they ship...they're also cheaper than anywhere I've seen in Ottawa (significantly so). They're on the web, but you'd probably have to call them for plexi.

jen said...

I feel the same way about our of them sitting nicely framed, but down south on my in-laws wall. We'll finally get them up when we move down south in many years!

Trust me you didn't want the lettuce or special sauce on the Big Mac, that stuff doesn't handle a plane ride very well. However I find the quarter Pounder travels very nicely. lol

Steph said...

They charge for air in Toronto, too, Craig. It's free for cyclists, though!

towniebastard said...

Mireille, we got the feeling he just didn't want to do the framing, for whatever reason. That getting the supplies up, given the risk and expense, just wasn't worth it to him.

I looked at Opus, and while they could send the supplies, they don't appear to do the framing themselves. So I suspect we'll be dealing with some outfit in Ottawa. We'll take it with us next time we go there, get them to frame it and then take it back with us on the plane.

It's a nuisance, but I don't see any other options at this time.

Aida said...

we are getting ours framed in winnipeg after christmas..its with plexiglass and since i just want regular stuff, nothing fancy schmancy, 2 days tops or within 24 hrs with 15% extra. i m bringing it back on the plane.

so if you hv exhaust all options, Frank is currently in Iqaluit, he can take it, get it framed and give it back to ya when he gets back up there which probably be jan/feb.

Angie said...

The gas bar is selling McDonald's hamburgers?? Wow, things have changed since I left.

towniebastard said...

Aida, that's very kind, but I think we'll manage. I have this phobia about severely inconvencing people. I can't imagine it not going off asking your husband to take the print, get it matted and framed, and then dragged half way across the arctic to us.

But thanks again...