Sunday, September 15, 2013


(I actually wrote this a few weeks ago, but got lazy about the editing and slotting in the photos. But here it is now, in case anyone is interested in sealifts.)

We’ve just wrapped up our annual sealift, which is something that always fascinates people who don’t live in the north. I’m sure I’ve written about it before, but for those who don’t want to go digging through the archives, here’s basically happens with our sealift. Your mileage may vary.

The first couple of years we lived up here we did our sealift through NorthMart. There are pros and cons to that. The major pro is that it is pretty simple. You order your stuff online or through a catalogue and then a few months later there is a knock on the door and a couple of guys start dragging stuff into your house. The downside is that you can only order what NorthMart brings in, which can be limited.

So a few years ago we decided to go and do our own. It’s normally in conjunction with our summer vacation, so we’re not making a special trip out to do it. Plus, we’ve gotten quite good at our plan of attack. We can do a sealift in two days, no problem. We could probably do it in a day if we had to. Basically, we go to Ottawa, go to TSC (The Shipping Company), let them know we’re starting our sealift, and then hit the following stores in this order: Costco, Wal-Mart, Loblaws, Canadian Tire/Home Depot, Ikea. Sometimes there are specialty stops, like at a bedding company last year when we needed a new box spring and mattress. Next year there might be a furniture store if we decide to get a new living room set (recommendations for good places to buy sofas in Ottawa are welcome).

We then drag most of this stuff back to TSC, put it in a crate and wave good-bye to it. There are exceptions, of course. If it’s really big sometimes we’ll get it delivered there (like the mattress last year). After an incident with Costco a few years ago we no longer ask TSC to do pick-ups. About $800 worth of stuff went missing and neither Costco nor TSC admitted the screw-up (pretty sure it was Costco), so we were out the money.

The crate has arrived, although they put it in the wrong spot  
TSC then packages it up, puts it in a crate, seal it up and then ships it to Montreal. From there it gets put on a boat and then eventually it arrives in Iqaluit.

We finished our sealift on June 26 this year. The crate arrived on August 19. So a little less than two months. Which is actually quite good. We’ve waited the better part of four months for it sometimes, depending on when we order and delays with the boats.

Fort Knox is probably easier to get into.
Opening a sealift is like having the most frustrating Christmas morning ever. First of all, TSC puts enough nails in the crate to ensure that you’re seriously considering dynamite at some point during the process of trying to open it. You know there is cool stuff in there, you just can’t get at it. And there’s always stuff that you forgot you bought or wondering why the hell you bought it in the first place. No matter how organized you are, you’re still buying a year’s worth of goods and dropping thousands of dollars in a short period of time. Higher brain function melts away at some point during the process.

After 90 minutes, progress has been made.
Once you finally crack it open you then have to drag it all into the house. Normally two people can make short work of it. And this year’s sealift was relatively small for us. Except the crate arrived days before Cathy came back from Newfoundland. Yes, I could have left it until she returned, but I find leaving thousands of dollars of goods unattended in front of your house is never a good idea. While we don’t order booze in our sealift, many others do. It’s a tempting target to many.

So anyway, I had to unload it myself. And on the day that the mosquitoes decided to make it their last hurrah for the year. I highly recommend the experience. But I did get it all in the house.

And here it is, waiting to be put away.
Now you’re faced with the challenge of where to put all of this stuff. It’s not so bad for us now. We have a house and a decent sized sealift room. When we were living in apartments it could be interesting. There’s the story of a guy who ordered so much beer on his sealift he couldn’t store it in his tiny sealift room. Instead, he used it as flooring and, over the course of the year, drank his way out.

Still, storage is Cathy’s thing (Cathy arrived on Thursday and began lamenting how cluttered the house is looking even without the sealift mess. I just sighed. I think it looks fine). I put some of it away and then cleared a space in the hallway to be able to walk through. She put the rest of it away.

So there you go. Another year’s sealift over and done with.

Last Five
1. Travelin' on - Norah Jones
2. Hum Hallelujah - Fall Out Boy
3. Get some - Lykke Li
4. Live it out - Metric*
5. Times like these - Foo Fighters

1 comment:

John, Canberra AU said...

Hmm. Maybe Cathy's the one who should run for office. If you tend to forget spending thousands, maybe you're not qualified to run a community.