From Fluffy to Skinny – Shearing the Alpacas

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Fozzie and UkiOur two new alpacas are so very sweet, and even though I’m no alpaca expert, I could tell they were in need of shearing. I mean, look at how fluffy they look (especially Fozzie, the brown one)! I knew that they needed to be sheared soon so they’d still have time to grow a warm coat before winter.

I knew there was an alpaca farm nearby, so I called and introduced myself. I had a great chat with one of the owners, Leanne, who gave me the name and number for the couple who shears their flock to see if I could arrange to take ours there. She mentioned it would be “quite a drive,” but when I called and got directions, I realized it would only be about a 2 hour drive. Not far at all! A little farther from the alpacas’ perspective, perhaps. :)

Darren and I got up early to load the alpacas into my dad’s horse trailer. Since they aren’t exactly tame, it was easy enough to slowly chase them into the holding pen. When we get too close, they back away, and that’s how you chase an alpaca slowly! They were a little more stubborn about stepping up and into the trailer, but with some patience, we got them in. After that, I was on my own, as Darren had to go to work. So, I headed out and after a significant detour due to construction on the highway, I was surprised to see this:

landscape near Donalda

I had no idea there were badlands so close! Even though I grew up on the farm, I had never been to this part of Alberta and it was like having a little adventure!

When I got to the shearer’s farm, they wasted no time in getting started. They use a shearing table, as most alpaca shearers do. Now, animal lovers (which I am) and animal-rights people (ditto), please do not freak out over these pictures! Although the alpacas are restrained, they are not uncomfortable and not as “stretched out” as they look! This is the best way to do it, so that they can’t wiggle around, or in some cases, kick; this makes the shearing safe and efficient for both the animal and the shearer. I researched and considered the kindest way to get the wool off the alpacas, and I believe this is it.

Uki before shearingHere’s Uki in the trailer before shearing. Look how long her bangs are! Poor girl could hardly see! I tried every day, with a pair of sharp scissors in my back pocket, to sneak up to her to trim her bangs, but she would not let me close at all. Maybe she sensed I had something up my sleeve?

The first step when we arrived was to put harnesses on them. Then, they led Uki to the shearing table, which is vertical to start out. We put a series of straps under her belly and lifted her feet off the ground and then slowly tipped the table to the horizontal. Then, her head (via the harness) and legs are attached with straps to the table. Here she is what it looked like.
Uki being sheared

As the shearer, Denise, worked we chatted about Uki. At this point, we had only had the alpacas for a week, but in that time, I had noticed that Uki might be pregnant — the shearer confirmed this! She is due to give birth any time within a month — that’s all we can say. It could be tomorrow, it could be the end of July! Since the previous owner never mentioned her being pregnant, I assume that it was not mentioned at the sale either. Perhaps the seller did not know, or the info was lost at the auction, but whatever the reason, she’s going to have a baby (called a cria) soon!! Denise, even said that I might have find a cria in the trailer when I get home! I’m glad that didn’t happen, but it really could be any day!

I have to say at this point I am so excited!! This is going to be so fun! I have seen pictures of cria and they look so adorable. According to my research, alpacas usually give birth during the day and rarely need help doing it — unlike sheep who often give birth in the middle of the night and need help along the way. So, I will keep you all posted as soon as the little one comes along!

Fozzie before shearingWhile Uki was being sheared, Fozzie let us know he was not happy with the situation. He was concerned, I think, that they would be separated. Once he realized they weren’t, he settled down a little. Alpacas are herd animals, and aren’t comfortable on their own.

I am amazed how much fibre (that’s fancy-talk for alpaca wool) Fozzie had!

He settled in quite well on the shearing table and his “wool” came off in amazing, blanket-like piles. In fact, the most valuable part of the alpaca fibre is called the blanket.
Fozzie being sheared

I know, Fozzie looks a little wide-eyed in that picture! Although it looks a little crazy to us common folk, this really does seem to be the best way to shear most alpacas. If mine were exceptionally tame, I might try to shear them myself one day, standing up, but letting a professional do it means that they won’t get nicked by the shears, and also means that I won’t be stressing them out for half a day!

What do I plan to do with the bags and bags of fibre I got? Well, as some of you know I love to knit, so I plan to make it into yarn. I guess that means I have to learn how to process the fibre and spin it! This is going to be fun! I always enjoy learning a new skill, and if I can knit the end result into a gorgeous pair of mittens at the end, woo hoo! I am very excited!

Back home again, several pounds lighter, and happy to be cooler and feeling the breeze!
alpacas after shearing
It’s hard to see, but Uki is definitely a little round-of-tummy, especially compared to Fozzie. There’ll be a little one any day!

News on the Farm — We Have Alpacas!

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I just don’t know how time flies so quickly, but it does! We have been busy on the farm, but not insanely so… still, the pace of life is quick enough that May zipped by and June went by at mach-3! So, I am a couple of weeks late with our very exciting news about buying two very sweet alpacas! Fozzie and Uki Fozzie and Uki-2 Aren’t they cute?! We found them on Kijiji, and they were a very good price, so we took the leap and bought them! We have SO MUCH GRASS and the place where they were had very little pasture, so it was a match made in heaven. The lady we bought them from said they were a year old, and from two different farms. She had bought them at the Tofield auction mart exotic sale. They were fairly shy at first. The dark one is named Fozzie (yes, after the muppet — do you see all his wool?!?) and the pale one is a female named Uki (after Japanese anime). Fozzie will come up to just outside arm’s reach, but Uki won’t come close at all. Their fibre and bangs were so long, they desperately needed a trim, so the next blog post will be about taking them to be sheared! That was an adventure in itself, and we got some exciting news that day, too!

Remembering Stella

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Some days, you just have to do the thing you don’t want to do.

Death makes you face things and do things that you just don’t want to. You can’t leave it until later. You can’t deny it. You just have to find some strength within — and you always do — to be able to do what you must. And in my case, that was wrap up our sweet, fluffy barn kitty who passed away unexpectedly.

Stella in the hayloft
Her name was Stella. I just gave her that name one day last fall. After living at the farm for a week or so, I felt our cute, skittish barn kitty should have a name, and Stella is the name that came to me. She was a little black-and-white cat who lived in the hayloft of the barn. We’d see her sitting out on the edge, catching some sun on a cool October day, but if we even approached the barn too purposefully, she’d be off like a flash, into a hidden part of the hayloft.

We would climb the ladder to fed her every day, and each time, she’d be barely visible, hiding from us. Before too long, though, she be a little more exposed, a little closer, and one of my favourite memories of her was the time she came to the food bowl before I had even gone down two rungs of the ladder — I got to see her up close for once! She was so sweet! Most of the time, though, she would sit on a nearby disintegrating bale of straw and look at us. The look on her face said, “you’re going to feed me again? Why are you being so nice to me?” In a way, it broke my heart that she was so baffled by our care and interest in her. For the last couple of months, however, she just looked at us with caution — as she approached so much of her life, I suppose — instead of confusion. She understood that we would bring her food every day and that we loved her. At least I hope she understood that last part.

A few days ago, Darren found her unmoving in the hayloft. He had gone to give her fresh water, and he didn’t see her at first. Then, suddenly, he saw her, laying with her chin on the straw. When I got home, and he told me that we’d lost her, I went to the barn. I saw her immediately from my spot on the ladder. How strange, since she was never in that part of the hayloft, that I knew. But we knew her so little! We only saw her for a few minutes a day. What was her life really like? We have no way of knowing. We only know that she had lost about half of her ears in harsh winters of the past. We know she had at least one litter of kittens — my mom had told us that, and that’s the only way they’d known she was a she. You just couldn’t get close enough to her.

Was she ever mistreated? I don’t think so. She is — ahem, was — a barn cat. She caught mice, and maybe birds, as her diet. Yet her look improved greatly once we started feeding her regularly. Her coat got fluffier, she seemed to put on some weight, and she looked less scared. But I don’t think she was ever mistreated before. It’s just the way of a barn kitty. She got table scraps once in a while, and other than that, she was independent. She lived out there, all the time, and we live in here, and we just didn’t know her very well.

The first time I got to pet her was after she’d died. Despite all I just said about barn cats, I feel it is such a shame I never got to connect with her, pet her and show her more affection while she was alive. She was so soft, and so sweet, and still warm! It seemed like she had just stopped breathing, and she might start up again any second. What would she do? Would she try to bolt away, suddenly aware that she had let her guard down too much? Or would she sigh and purr and then die again, but this time, knowing for sure that she was loved?

It broke my heart, petting her in the barn that night. But my heart will mend.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I chose a bright yellow piece of cloth to wrap her in. It seemed the most appropriate for her, but my mood was anything but sunny. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to have to take care of her body. I wanted her to be alive; I didn’t want to be in this situation. Then, quite out of the blue, I thought, “every day, we have new opportunities. and today, this is my opportunity.” What a strange thought to have… and it changes everything. It’s my opportunity to take care of the body of my sweet kitty. Not an obligation, or unpleasant task. It’s my chance, and it only comes once.

I cried quite a bit, still caught up in the “what ifs” and “if onlys.” But, like so many facing death, I consoled myself with “we did our bests” and “I think she loved us.” It’s all we can do, with so many unknowns.

One thing I know about myself, though: I am enough of a realist, or scientist, that it’s okay to console myself whenever I need it. There’s no worry that I’ll fall into a trap of unreasonable excuse-making, although there’s always a hazard of wanting to live in the past and/or feeling sorry for myself. But if I focus on the good bits, I can avoid that.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So let this be my tribute to you, dear Stella. I have the feeling you enjoyed your time on this earth! I hope you know how much you meant to us. This isn’t the last time we’ll think of you! We’ll miss seeing you in the hayloft every day. Although you are gone, in spring, we’ll bury your body at the top of the garden. We won’t forget you.
Stella

Teresa’s Episode Guide for Corner Gas

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I can’t deny it — I’m a big fan of Corner Gas. The acting is excellent and the writing hilarious! Back when I worked a lot of night shifts, Corner Gas kept me awake! I started writing an episode guide for Corner Gas so that when I was wondering which episode has Oscar’s hilarious version of a washing machine in it, or when Wanda hosts Canada AM or Hank drives Wanda’s car around, I could just search for the keywords I wanted. Once you know the episode, you can watch it on YouTube. They’re all there — all 107 episodes!

In case you’re curious, Oscar gets credit for 50 of the funniest lines (according to me), Hank gets 44, Brent 33, Wanda 18, Lacey 13, Davis 11, and Karen 8, Emma only gets 7. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily say who is the funniest overall, it’s just some fun statistics. :) I think my overall favourite episode is “Get the F Off my Lawn,” although there are so many great ones, it’s hard to pick! If you have a fav, leave it in the comments! :)

Enjoy!

Episode Guide for Corner Gas!

CornerGasLogo

Season 1

S01E01 – Ruby Reborn – She’s the talk of the town — the woman who is taking over the diner after Ruby Burrows passes away. Hank worries that she might be a ex-convict, and Davis is just desperate for a good coffee. Meanwhile, Brent is making a change at the gas station too — he’s now offering movie rentals, which, of course, Oscar objects to.
Best lines/scenes: The surveillance bush, Emma/Oscar/Brent showdown, “She’s turned it into a gay bar.” (Hank), Lacey’s final change

S01E02 – Tax Man – When a tax man (not THE tax man!) comes to investigate Oscar, things get ugly in Dog River. Davis gets upset that he doesn’t get free coffee any more (and he won’t let Karen pay) and Lacey is flabbergasted that people think coffee refills are free. Emma knows where the tax papers are, of course, but Oscar is, well, Oscar.
Best lines/scenes: “I pay your salary!” (Oscar)

S01E03 – Pilates Twist – Brent and Hank buy the same shirt and Brent is tempted to abuse his shirt powers. Oscar and Emma go to a funeral where Oscar is distracted by the cheap coffin, so he starts building his own. Lacey starts teaching pilots, unknowingly competing with Wanda’s mat class.
Best lines/scenes: “Don’t laugh about Y2K, it could still happen.” (Oscar) “Yeah, but he did kill Jesus.” (Davis) “Then bring back some that are e=square. I’m tired of eating rectangles!” (Oscar)

S01E04 – Oh Baby – Brent agrees to babysit Wanda’s kid, Tanner, so she can go to the dentist. He gets a book out of the library which doesn’t help at all. The whole town starts betting on Brent’s injuries at the bar. Oscar watches the gas station and doesn’t burn it down (almost, but not quite).
Best lines/scenes: “Chives on top of me?” (Alice, the librarian) Brent with his pants and back of his shirt shredded.

S01E05 – Grad 68 – Karen starts investigating the cold case of graffitti on the water tower, which she solves! Meanwhile Lacey tries to get a column at the Howler.
Best lines/scenes: “Oh no, no more writing for me. I just want to direct.” (Hank) Scene with Julie Stewart, “I don’t have all the answers!” (paint store clerk)

S01E06 – World’s Biggest Thing – Hank gets the idea to make “the world’s biggest something” to promote tourism. A committee brainstorms and when Fitzy’s grandma suggests the world’s biggest hoe, no one can bring themselves to tell her what else it means.
Best lines/scenes: “A big dirty hoe!” (Brent)

S01E07 – All My Ex’s Live in Toronto – Steven, Lacey’s ex-fiance comes to town, and as Hank hatches a plan to scare him off, he spins a story about him being Colchek the Night Stalker. Meanwhile, Emma bugs Oscar to go to the doctor.
Best lines/scenes: “Don’t point your pickle at me.” (Brent) Brent and Lacey sharing a chili cheese dog. “No ridiculous schemes = Hank, do whatever you can to help me.” (Lacey) The backwards interrogation room.

S01E08 – Cousin Carl – Brent meets his nemesis head on and it all comes to head at the talent show. Hank does a magic act, Wanda does the decor and MC, and Lacey is the judge. Oscar starts brewing his own beer when Wes won’t give him a refund for his old bottles.
Best lines/scenes: “Wes won’t take them! I’m a senior!” (Oscar) “Geez Dad, did you mix this in a skidoo boot or a crow’s nest?… It tastes like you beat a skunk to death with a salmon.” (Brent)

S01E09 – Cell Phone – Hank and Brent’s competition over who has the smallest cell phone goes over the top when one of them ends up with “a barbie phone” (Lacey), and Oscar gets hooked on The Claw.” Lacey gets rejected from the chamber of commerce, so she works to get the grain elevator declared an historic site. The only problem is, that’s where all the rats are coming from.
Best lines/scenes: “Let me answer a question with a question. Shut up.” “I’m hot! There’s a fuzzy lobster over there with my name on it!” (Oscar)

S01E10 – Comedy Night – The ladies of Dog River start a book club (plus Brent), and Hank mics the comedy night when a visiting comedian comes to town. He practices heckling and being heckled and takes it a little over the top.
Best lines/scenes: “I’m never sarcastic about sandwiches.” (Brent) “You can never leave the game.” (Brent and later, Lacey). Colin Mochrie

S01E11 – Hook Line and Sinker – Davis has aromatherapy, so Karen has to go fishing with Hank alone (and doesn’t sleep with him!). Brent gets the whole town to fool Oscar into thinking his mind is going (alfa-getti), and Brent and Lacey play word games on their highway sign.
Best lines/scenes: “You can’t spell with dinosaurs!” (Oscar)

S01E12 – Face Off – Hockey season is starting, and Brent gets an offer to play for a competing team. They all discover Lacey has an encyclopaedic knowledge of hockey, but are reluctant to take her on for the coach. Wanda announces the game, which Oscar and Emma miss because they are trapped in their car.
Best lines/scenes: “Our defensemen can’t skate backwards. That’s the crux of it.” (Brent) Wooden goal pads, “So you’re probably bringing forwards hard on the forecheck, pressuring your D into bad passes out of the zone.” (Lacey) “Practicing is good in theory, but in reality, it just tires us out.” (Hank) Sports Centre interview

S01E13 – I Love Lacey – Crazy antics happen when the gang from Dog River goes to a football game. Brent and Lacey run out of gas — twice — Wanda and Emma have to give their ticket away to avoid getting arrested for theft. Hank and Oscar get caught in the act of stealing Oscar’s deceased friend’s belt, so they end up in the slammer, where Davis also nearly ends up when he tries to buy football tickets from a hooker. Brent and Lacey nearly kiss, but when the moment has passed, Brent returns to his usual, clueless self.
Best lines/scenes: “She says she loves me.” (Tow truck operator)

Season 2

S02E01 – The Brent Effect – Oscar wants to buy an outboard motor from Hank, but he steals money from Emma, which gets him in deep water with her. Davis gets in trouble with Karen over firing his gun willy nilly. Lacey polls everyone in town and they all say he’s handsome and sexy.
Best lines/scenes: Davis talking nervously about shooting his gun. “Talk to Oscar. He’s the one who stole your money from your nightstand last Thursday while you were out with the church ladies getting ready for bake sale, I don’t know nothing about it.” (Hank)

S02E02 – Wedding Card – Emma finds an old Darryl Sitler card in the basement, and Brent discovers his parents were never married. Davis becomes the wedding planner from hell and Hank tries to win his Darryl Sitler card back playing knuckles. Lacey thinks Oscar can’t read because she overhears him sounding out a cat-sup bottle.
Best lines/scenes: “Daisy arch? You’ll never get me under one of those death traps.” (Oscar) Oscar and Hank looking each other in the eye to see if they’re mad at each other. Davis & the minister walking into the wedding rehearsal where everyone’s fighting.

E02E03 – Smell of Freedom – Davis regains his sense of smell after falling after a ladder helping Oscar with a cat up his tree. Lacey challenges Hank to Scrabble, who wins twice — he as a beautiful mind. Brent, normally clueless, tries to pay attention to those around him.
Best lines/scenes: “…bunch of do-gooders, telling me what I can and can’t set on fire.” (Oscar) Hank messing up the names of TV shows. Davis smelling the asphalt and the hood. “Just remember — money talks, but it don’t sing and dance… and it don’t walk.” (Oscar)

S02E04 – Whatophobia – The episode all about fears! Everyone discovers Lacey has globophobia (and Davis secretly), so Wanda tries to find out what her phobia is. Oscar takes up baking (not really — Karen does it). Oscar gets banned from the mini-putt, and then later Emma gets banned when she tries to defend him.
Best lines/scenes: The zombie bringing balloons to Lacey. “Being intimate with a sasquatch.” (Wanda) “You had me at pants.” (Davis) “I doubt that Battlestar Gallactica actually happened.” (Brent) Code for Code 10-19: trouble at the mini-putt.

S02E05 – Lost and Found – This is the Karen-hackysack episode, with the twists and turns of people “owing each other one.” Oscar takes up the hobby of picking up trash on the side of the road.
Best lines/scenes: “Prepositions are fun, aren’t they!?” (Wanda) “That’s because it’s the kind they use for practice. It’s like a blank. They improve their aim and nobody gets hurt.” (Oscar) “My footbag./It’s called a sock, Einstein.” (Oscar) “Some monkeys have strings…. string monkeys.” (Hank)

S02E06 – Poor Brent – Brent buys a big screen TV and then try to prevent Hank from finding out. Hank spreads the rumour that Brent is broke and Oscar and Emma have an epic fight — “no more free ride.” Lacey and Wanda get into a fight over jewellery.
Best lines/scenes: “You bet! What is she, a stripper or a wrestler?” (Hank) “Plus we can pee standing up” (Hank) “I know what a washing machine is!” (Oscar) Oscar using the bath mat as a towel.

S02E07 – Hero Sandwich – It all starts when Wanda thinks about getting a tattoo, and Emma offers to draw it for her. Fitzy decides the town needs a traffic light, and Hank and Oscar end up on the lam due to all their jaywalking tickets. Lacey invents a new sandwich, the Ruby Club, which becomes too popular for her liking.
Best lines/scenes: “Call before you dig.” (Oscar) Above the Law movie reference. “That’s pretty far-fetched. Left tun signals.” (Hank) Oscar hiding behind the toaster.

S02E08 – Security Cam – Brent gets a security camera and in time, Lacey, Karen and Wanda do skits for it. Davis gets a stun gun and Hank hounds him to zap him. Oscar and Emma go on a romantic holiday. The episode culminates in Oscar and Emma doing a little skit of their own — flirting — without knowing there’s a camera.
Best lines/scenes: “I can club you if you want.” (Karen) “Aah, been there, done that.” (Hank) Bullet resistant vests. Bed scene at the hotel. “You know there’s more to me than just a pretty boy tough buy cop.” (Davis)

S02E09 – Bingo Night – Karen has a week off due to a bad drug test result, and pretty soon Hank is competing with her for Brent’s hang-out time. Much to Emma’s dismay (and bad luck), Wanda takes over calling bingo,
Best lines/scenes: “I’ve been out-hung.” (Hank) Hank on the rebound, hanging out with Davis. Fitzy at a jazz exercise class.

S02E10 – Mosquito Time – The town prepares to bury a new time capsule; Lacey gets new coffee carafes, and everyone is plagued by mosquitoes until they realize Hank has some sort of special mosquito-repelling force. They think it is the lemon soap he uses to wash in, but it turns out to be his hat. Oscar works at the gas station for a few days and drives Brent and Wanda crazy instead of Emma.
Best lines/scenes: Hank’s brain with filing boxes in it. “What are you looking at.” (Brent, talking to carafes) “Licky disco?” (Oscar)

S02E11 – Hurry Hard – It’s curling season in Dog River! Davis tasks Karen with guarding the Clevette Cup, which ends up as a bacon-grease cup. Team Leroy splits into two, with Oscar skipping one team and Brent the other.
Best lines/scenes: “I’ll see you on the coloured circles.” (Brent) “Have a heart! Have a heart!” (Lacey)

S02E12 – An American in Saskatchewan – The town goes into upheaval when Wes gets an ATM, and pretty soon people are gathering around it, talking. An american stumbles into town and Hank gets appointed, then retracted. Canada jokes abound. Brent becomes goodwill ambassador in his place, and abuses his diplomatic immunity.
Best lines/scenes: “Hank, you know my rule about circus music.” (Lacey) “…Mush, mush!” (Hank)

S02E13 – Pandora’s Wine – Hank wins the lottery, salsa is racy, and Lacey stirs the pot by bumping Oscar and Emma into a new wine bracket. A revenge brunch is in order. Meanwhile, Davis is breaking in new shoes, taking it out on the whole town.
Best lines/scenes: “I told you I’m fine. Fit as a fiddle, twenty-three skidoo, I’m the cat’s pyjamas.” (Davis) “There. They nearly killed me.” (Emma) “Finder’s keepers, losie Susie.” (Oscar)

S02E14 – Doc Small – Lacey gets picked to show the new potential doctor around town, and it seems everyone has conspired against her. ONE OF THE BEST EPISODES!
Best lines/scenes: TOO MANY TO SAY!

S02E15 – Rock on – Brent, Hank and Wanda resurrect their high school rock bank, Thunder Face. Davis and Karen investigate Oscar’s claims that Dewey Macleod stole one of his songs and Lacey writes the history of Dog River for the town plaque.
Best lines/scenes: Scene of “where would we be today.” “Maybe Tony the Poh doesn’t know when he’s being ripped off!” Oscar, Tragically Hip, Colin James, “Rumble Stuff, Cloudy Puss… Tornado Face… You know, I’m pretty sue it’s Rumble Puss… Rumble Puss?” (Lacey)

S02E16 – Air Show – Brent has to shut down the gas station for a while because of a level 5 health hazard, meanwhile Lacey gets in trouble for staying open during the air show. She overreacts, as usual, as does Fitzy when there’s a rash of crime in town. He starts a bike patrol, which is tough for Karen because she can’t ride a bike. Hank opens a corn stand, hiring Wanda to help.
Best lines/scenes: “Stop the goose rash!” (Davis) Brent borrowing money from Hank. The Snowbirds!

S02E17 – Slow Pitch – Summer’s here and Corner Gas has a team, the Guzzlers, in the local beer league. Hank’s new glove is problematic, and Oscar’s third base signals are incomprehensible.
Best lines/scenes: “This coming from a guy who once punched a skunk.” (Brent) Scene with Wes at the bar – “he’s a lunatic!” “Don’t blame the glove. It’s me. My hamstrings are loose.” (Hank)

S02E18 – Harvest Dance – As Brent and Oscar try to out-do each other in making up excuses not to eat Emma’s jelly salad, the town prepares for this year’s harvest dance. Lacey can’t seem to keep her mouth shut, messing up Brent and Oscar’s secret, but ultimately playing into Karen’s plan to get a raise. To everyone’s surprise, Hank gets a girlfriend from Wollerton, and takes her to the dance, where Lacey is crowned “Harvest Honey.”
Best lines/scenes: where Lacey goes around at the dance, saying sorry to everyone who she blabbed about. Everyone spitting every time Wollerton is mentioned.

Season 3

S03E01 – Dress for Success – Hank and Oscar play the stock market, meanwhile Wanda tries to see if Brent’s male instincts are still intact — wearing a skirt, brooch and make-up to work. Lacey’s dishwasher breaks down, and after Emma helps her out, soon they are at odds. Karen makes Davis queasy and to get her back, he plays a bunch of practical jokes on her.
Best lines/scenes: “Fine, I’ll give you your imaginary cash. Hold my monkey.” (Brent) “I’ll be on the corner of easy street, and … something good avenue.” (Oscar) “… weed weasel, weed witch, weed wizard… mmmmmulch monkey? Garden gremlin?” (Wanda/Emma) “You’re fakerupt?” (Brent)
**NOT A WHOLE EPISODE**

S03E02 – Key to the Future – Davis loses his keys, Lacey rocks the boat by changing water pitchers, Equal, and waitress pads. Lacey, risking looking eccentric, decides to fix the pothole on main street, and Hank starts having premonitions. Karen locks her keys in the trunk, and Oscar eggs Lacey on and then heckles her while teenagers fix the pothole. Hank predicts something bad happening to Emma, and she spills the tomato juice.
Best lines/scenes: “… then the door opens to our old foes, chaos and anarchy. Plus, I like people to like me.” (Davis) “You have five seconds to make my skin stop crawling.” (Brent) “I mean, maybe there’s some higher power using me as a tool. ” (Hank) “Hank is Phycic… contunied on page 3″ (Howler)

S03E03 – Dog River Vice – Hank gets an electronic organizer, which he ends up using to keep Karen and Davis’ ride-a-long schedule on track (it becomes a taxi service). Meanwhile, Brent and Emma go head to head giving up their vices: coffee and knitting. Oscar and Emma take up Ukrainian dancing — and everything Ukrainian — and Lacey tries to help Brent function without coffee. Wanda spends the episode spouting fairy tale puns.
Best lines/scenes: Oscar trying to knit. “[beep-boop beep-boop] Be right back. Bathroom break.” (Hank) “Ah, tell it your pumpkin, Rapunzel.” (Wanda) Hank drinking a beer according to his electronic organizer. Emma dancing with her purse on her arm. “Decaf? … I’m not just jonesin’ for some hot, brown liquid.”

S03E04 – Will and Brent – Lacey gets overly fastidious about her new bulletin board; Karen and Davis get a new breathalyzer that plays chimes when it works. Hank is his usual annoying self, getting between Brent and his parents and hogging the breathalyzer. Oscar and Emma make a will which may or may not give Brent their great couch.
Best lines/scenes: Oscar and Emma’s legal will kit commercial. “Then you’ll have a ball of yarn and two hats.” (Wanda). The Leroys riding a three-person bike, and playing twister. The big cheque with Oscar donating his fortune. “So where is the axe and the mask come in?” (Hank)

S03E05 – LIttlest Yarbo – Dog River gets a fire department, and Hank tries to prove that a stray dog is the Littlest Hobo. Lacey and Brent order travel mugs. Oscar lights a pile of leaves on fire, but, of course, the fire department is nowhere to be found.
Best lines/scenes: “The dog hears voices?” (Oscar)

S03E06 – Mail Fraud – Wanda and Hank are jealous, but Lacey can’t understand Brent’s annual “staycation.” The potluck stresses Karen out because she wants Davis to cook, meanwhile Emma and Oscar get a computer and start learning about email. Karen ends up helping everyone in town make food for the potluck and forgets to bring napkins.
Best lines/scenes: Ian, the computer geek kid who helps Oscar. “I put the gigabits into the floppy drive and, boom.” (Oscar) “He’s got the bug spray right beside the cooking spray. That’s got lawsuit written all over it.” (Wanda) Various mangled techno-lingo.

S03E07 – Fun Run – Wanda, Lacey and Karen decide to train for a 5K run, meanwhile Hank trains to be a crossing guard. Oscar convinces Doc Russell to give him handicap license plates. Emma enjoys parking close to things. Brent tries out 60’s beatnik phrases.
Best lines/scenes: “Look, you wanna talk or get gooned?” (Oscar) Hank taking the stop sign test. “Being disabled — best thing that ever happened to me.” (Oscar) Hank with sunscreen on my nose. Brent stretching his windshield wipers. Oscar wearing a sweat band on his forehead. Special Guest: Jan Arden.

S03E08 – Trees a Crowd – Hank and Brent retake their treehouse, thanks to Hank’s front end loader. Karen teaches Lacey how to do kung fu. Wanda gets out of the back seat of the cop car. An old flame comes on to Oscar… and Lacey tries to give advice to Emma.
Best lines/scenes: “I don’t swoop. Idiots swoop.” (Oscar) Scene near the end where Wanda is working at the till with handcuffs on.

S03E09 – Picture Perfect – Brent gets a new camera, Karen tries to teach Davis how to gamble, and Paul, the bar owner installs a trivia game. Hank teams up with Lacey, and Wanda teams up with Davis. Oscar steals a gnome from the neighbour next door, one that looks a lot like him.
Best lines/scenes: “We know all stuff!” (Hank) Celtic music that plays when Oscar looks at the gnome.

S03E10 – Safety First – Oscar kicks the ladder down, so he and Davis get stuck on the roof, while Hank tries to reinvent himself when he realizes he isn’t a Virgo. He ventures into the realm of “accountancy.” Karen recruits Brent and Wanda to work on her bike safety colouring book .
Best lines/scenes: “My whole life I’ve had the wrong personality.” (Hank) “I didn’t know you were having medical problems.” (Karen) “…and I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with the fiscaliness.” (Hank) Ted the bus boy. “Fudgee-puppies are for closers.” (Fitzy)

S03E11 – Hair Loss – Wanda scores an elephant lamp, which turns out to belong to Emma. The big showdown takes place while Davis tries to pawn off his large stuffed fish. Oscar thinks Lacey does magic tricks– illusions, mostly. Lacey teases Brent about losing his hair — and teases his hair!
Best lines/scenes: Painy the clown. “Don’t let gossipy geese get your goat.” (Lacey) “Your desk, your fish.” (Davis)

S03E12 – Ruby Newsday – Hank loses his paper route to Oscar, which inspires Lacey to start a coffee shop newspaper. She thinks the trivia is great, but Hank says people prefer Brent’s cartoon. This leads to a series of tip jars and Wanda acting creepy trying to win people’s tips.
Best lines/scenes: “You’re taking the food out of your own mouth.” (Oscar)

S03E13 – Merry Gasmas – Lacey decides to go back to Toronto for Christmas, but ends up all over the country and then back in Dog River. Hank convinces everyone to donate gifts for a needy family. Wanda gets in a gift-craze for Transfarmers.
Best lines/scenes: “Take me with you.” (Brent) Transfarmers! “It’ll be just like when Frosty got his nose and he was able to lead the sleigh.” (Hank) The ambulances of Christmas

S03E14 – Friend of a Friend – Lacey’s friend Connie is incredibly rude to everyone. Wanda invents a customer rewards program, which has everybody comparing levels — prestige, elite, gold elite, titanium, platinum… Karen thinks she’d be good at undercover work.
Best lines/scenes: “Ooo, I wanna do it! Pick me! Pick me!” (Wanda) Hank playing himself singing folk songs on the mini tape player. “Plutonium! Platypus! Geranium!” (Oscar’s flashback)

S03e15 – Block Party – As part of Dog River’s centennial celebrations, Hank decides to make a scale model of the town — using LEGO bricks. Soon, he has every block in town. Meanwhile, Wanda throws herself a birthday party, Karen reveals her sport (static apnea),
Best lines/scenes: Davis miming rhythmic gymnastics. “This is an 8-block! Where’s your head at, Brent? This is a load-bearing wall!” (Hank)

S03E16 – Physical Credit – Wanda gets in a tizzy when she gets rejected for a credit card that Hank got. Hank, of course, brags about his card. Meanwhile, Karen tricks Davis into thinking he needs to pass a physical, and Oscar becomes his trainer. Davis goes from reading Hardy Boys books to doing Participaction. Brent and Lacey have a contest to see who’s a better confidant.
Best lines/scenes: “All that matters are story and character. Production values aren’t important.” (pushes microphone up) (Wanda) After Participaction song — “I don’t want to do it.” (Davis) Oscar timing Emma’s knitting with a stop watch.

S03S17 – Telescope Trouble – Wanda tries to find a safe place for her telescope, meanwhile Brent’s door needs fixing. He gets accused of being a fiddler by Lacey’s door guy, Terry. Emma and Oscar buy an RV, and they end up parking outside the police station.
Best lines/scenes: “Coffee already tastes like coffee. A LOT.” (Brent) Davis singing Kumbaya.

S03E18 – Bean There – Hank takes Wanda to a lamborghini BBQ where she has to pretend she has one. The Ruby gets overrun with truckers, and while Oscar bugs one for a ride, Davis complains about them. Brent, Emma and Karen put together a bean jar fundraiser to buy new equipment for the play park. Davis ends up befriending the truckers and telling them that Lacey only has 6 weeks to live.
Best lines/scenes: how bad the play park is. “…but the humidity is very high today, and the UV index–” (Davis) The trucker who cries and runs from the room. “Come on! clint Eastwood didn’t keep his monkey waiting!” (Oscar)

S03e19 – Road Worthy – Lacey decides it’s time to get a new car, so she takes Brent along to help so she won’t be intimidated. Hank bugs Karen and Davis about eating donuts, so they switch to muffins. Oscar asks Wanda for help picking out an anniversary gift for Emma, while Oscar’s present, sunglasses, goes traveling around the episode. Lacey ends up taking Hank to the car dealership to get the best deal.
best lines/scenes: “Hey, Guff Brooking.” (Brent) “The fake reverend is right.” (Brent)

Season 4

S04E01 – Hair Comes the Judge – Wanda starts acting as the town judge, like Judge Judy, in a case between Lacey and Hank. Hank didn’t stain the deck after Lacey paid him. Karen cuts Brent’s hair, and Oscar drives around town with a broken muffler.
Best lines/scenes: ” Wuffy and scraggly… Bescuffie and rumplish…” (Brent) “Dinglenuts, dinglehank” (Wanda) “Cold, then hot, then cold hard cash?” (Brent)

S04E02 – Dog River Dave – Emma orders take-out and messes with the whole town. Hank delivers and Wanda takes over managing the take-out service. Karen and Davis work-to-rule. A radio host makes fun of Brent on the radio.
Best lines/scenes: “… ungrateful ungrates… ingrateful ingrates.” (Oscar)

S04E03 – Two Degrees of Separation – Lacey convinces Oscar and Emma to get a new thermostat, which Hank installs, and it causes continuous fighting about the temperature in the house. Davis installs a security decal (sticker) at Corner Gas but it’s too high up to read Wanda’s height. Karen discovers Lacey had an expired out-of-province driver’s license, and Emma is the part-time tester.
Best lines/scenes: “That sticker is all that separates Brent from being shot and beat up by someone he doesn’t even know the height of.” (Davis) The whole sequence where Hank sets the thermostat the first time. “El-Salvador-like heat… The hot part of Japan… the hot part of Greenland!” (Oscar)

S04E04 – Just Brent and his Shadow – Lacey and Brent have job shadows, and Hank gets a fondue set at a garage sale. Oscar starts showing interest in Wanda when Emma starts being nicer to him.
Best lines/scenes: “So, fondue accident?” (paramedic)

S04E05 – Demolition – Hank agrees to demolish a barn, and convinces Brent and Oscar to help, while Oscar competes with Davis (and sort of Karen) to become Newsmaker of the Year. Lacey does Emma’s nails in exchange for flowers. Wanda is unofficial photographer for the gang, due to her professional-looking photos of grain elevators.
Best lines/scenes: Hank imitating dynamite “pfft, boom!” (Hank) Howler headline “Cop Naps Barely Thief.” Oscar blowing up a salad. “Walk the juice to it!… Give ‘er sneuse!” (Hank) Guest appearance by Adrienne Clarkson

S04E06 – Jail House – The police department does a fundraiser locking Davis in a jail cell, where he nearly goes crazy with Hank keeping him company. Lacey tries to spruce up The Ruby and Corner Gas with flowers and incense. Wanda tries to make a little money doing renos at Oscar and Emma’s.
Best lines/scenes: Hank’s almost-soliloquy: “I’m not going to leave ya…. Karen and this charity have driven you to the point of madness, where you lash out at me. I’m not going to leave ya, buddy, not when your mind is starting to comprehend the cage.” “Now I know these things are supposed to come hidden in a cake, but time’s a-wastin’ and I don’t know how to bake.” (Hank) Brent handing tools over the counter, “I’m on a roll.” “Now what is wrong with a little citrus brambleberry eucalyptus potpourri?” (Lacey) Guest appearance by Mike Holmes (from Holmes on Homes)

S04E07 – I, Witness – Wanda helps Karen with a police presentation about eyewitness testimony, while Lacey becomes Oscar’s replacement as Emma’s bridge partner. Hank has an epiphany (two!) about being a rodeo clown, where he ends up saving Lacey from telling Emma the truth.
Best lines/scenes: “What, give up my dream?” (Hank, referring to being a rodeo clown.) Scenes where bridge terminology is “blah blah blah.”

S04E08 – Blog River – Hank starts a blog, Lacey gets depressed because of a friend’s success, but everyone conspires to cheer her up by getting Oscar to throw a game of horseshoes so Lacey can be “the Horseshoe Queen.” Wanda does Davis’ taxes, and doesn’t save him any money.
Best lines/scenes: “You don’t throw horseshoes! I mean, you throw horseshoes, it’s the nature of the game, but you don’t throw the game.” (Oscar)

S04E09 – Outside Joke – Fitzy hires Hank as a temporary garbage man, shortly after Karen and Davis tell Brent his business is outside the boundaries of Dog River. Everyone in town is in an outrigger over the red bug washer juice. Karen tries to teach Davis how to do a proper practical joke, while Emma and Oscar try to hide the extra money the bank gave them.
Best lines/scenes: “…we prefer janitorial, I mean custodial worker. Civic custodial worker engineer technician… Just wham, bam, thank you Orville. ” (Hank) “You pulled an impractical serious.” (Karen) “Brent and his devil-juice.” (Fitzy’s grandma) “Sanitorial janitation technologist.” (Hank)

S04E10 – One Piano, Four Hands – Emma starts teaching piano lessons again, and her first two students are Wanda and Davis. Davis is a natural and Wanda, not so much. Meanwhile, when the air pump at Corner Gas breaks down and Brent gets a new one, he takes a bit of flack for charging for air. Lacey slips and breaks her arm, which Hank gives her advice on, and Karen avoids signing it.
Best lines/scenes: Emma and Wanda in a wrestling ring (Emma taking Wanda on). “I can’t guarantee we won’t be back with torches,” says Davis, “and marshmallows” says the big serious dude. “He’s always been a slave to the big air companies.” (Hank)

S04E11 – Kid Stuff – Emma gives Brent’s old kids stuff away to Hank, after Oscar realizes he’s on an allowance. He tries to make some extra money by selling cookies — like a little girl — and Karen ends up helping him. Davis bugs Lacey over and over again until she lets him order macaroodles. Emma takes up sewing again, by fixing Brent’s pants and sewing him a groovy polyester suit.
Best lines/scenes: “Holy Hell! I’m on an allowance!” (Oscar) “… as dangerous as a badger in a rain barrel. I can’t stop!” (Wanda) Scene where the boy asks Davis through the window “what do I want to drink” and Davis replies, “coffee.” “Where’s my money, Leroy?” (Molly, girl scout)

S04E12 – Mother’s Day – Brent drops the ball on Mother’s Day and doesn’t get Emma anything. Oscar lives a dream life — nothing he does can get him in trouble. Karen and Wanda buy a Yagenpluts.
Best lines/scenes: “I got a Yagenpluts! / Well, don’t do it in here.” (Karen/Lacey) “…it’s you screwing up, and Hank sucking up, it’s formed some kind of magic sweet spot! I’m flying under the radar! These are the best days of my life!”” (Oscar)

S04E13 – Census Sensibility – Police jokes abound as Hank and Oscar get hired to take Dog River’s census. After Karen and Davis stand by while Hank chokes on a pickle, they get sent for first aid training. Lacey misinterprets their weekend away together, and Davis giving Karen earrings, to mean that they are dating. Brent and Wanda start selling pressed bars of soy from Uzbekistan (Organo bars). Then Emma thinks Lacey and Davis are together.
Best lines/scenes: “What’s this, the 8th time? / First time with a pickle. Er, sweet pickle.” (Brent / Hank) Romantic scenes of Davis and Lacey. “I’m a loose cannon, I can’t control me.” (Oscar)

S04E14 – The Good Old Table Hockey Game – Davis gets a table hockey game, and soon, Karen and Brent are battling it out in the “Table Hockey Summit Series.” Meanwhile, Lacey nominates Emma for the Dog River Youngish Women’s Association award, and then has to try make her look good.
Best lines/scenes: The conversation about distinguished woman. “I’ll show that stuck-up cop who’s a knob!” (Oscar) Close up of the players at the end of the series.

S04E15 – Lacey Borrows – Karen and Lacey start a chain of borrowing each other’s stuff that culminates in Karen borrowing Lacey’s house and Lacey borrowing the cop car. Emma and Oscar decide they need to make Brent a man by showing him his first horror movie, and they all spend the rest of the episode freaked out. Rather than getting a wallet, Hank starts collecting things in his pants.
Best lines/scenes: “I’m fully loaded to pant capacity.” (Hank) “Your sentences are like quilts.” (Brent) “It’s these pants! They’re never satisfied… I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. There’s just no pleasing these pants!” (Hank) Scene at the end where Hank throws his pants into a wood chipper.

S04E16 – Potato Bowl – Oscar gets in trouble with the Harvester’s club when he doesn’t pay dues or into the kitty for coffee. He, Davis and Karen start their own club. Lacey tries to teach Hank some toastmaster’s/public speaking tips (with a pork chop on your face). Wanda breaks Emma’s potato bowl, but finds them on bay for cheap.
Best lines/scenes: “And that’s not embezzled!” (Hank) Scene with Karen, Davis and Oscar driving little cars. “I was just doing what you told me to do, I was embroidering.” (Hank)

S04E17 – Seeing Things – Brent tries to fake getting laser eye surgery, meanwhile the DRPD (Dog River Police Dept) gets a new slogan — No Crime Too Small. Oscar makes sure Karen and Davis stick to it. Hank steals slogans from Emma for Corner Gas and the Ruby, too.
Best lines/scenes: “No! No warrior princesses!” (Karen) Brent imagining laser eye surgery. “Raisins!? Book this dirt bag!” (Oscar, after telling Fitzy how to make banana muffins) Scene with Brent trying to put contact lenses in. Wanda and Lacey doing “schemy fingers.”

S04E18 – Happy Campers – It’s time for Oscar and Brent’s annual camping trip, and Davis worms his way along. While they’re away, Lacey and Wanda switch jobs, and Emma and Karen end up helping them. After 20+ years, Hank finally has a good hair day!
Best lines/scenes: “It’s the one where the bunny goes down the hole. It’s a sailor’s knot.” (Oscar) TOO MANY OTHERS TO SAY

S04E19 – Gopher it – Hank’s idea of prairie dogs (gophers!) to attract tourists to Dog River changes everything. It’s campaign time for the mayor, Fitzy. Emma decides to run against him on the platform of bringing a casino. Features Canada AM (Wanda flirting) and Stephen Harper (prime minister)! Lacey leaves, Brent sells Corner Gas, and Emma is mayor.
Best lines/scenes: Oscar and Wanda in Pump N’ Go uniforms, Blue Rodeo song

Season 5

S05E01 – Cable Excess – When the cable company comes to town, Brent gets to pick which show will be produced. Davis wants to do Crimestoppers, the ladies want to do a talk show, and Oscar, well, he’s just Oscar. After egging the cable van, Hank spends the episode hiding from the police. In the end, it’s a scene of the horizon…
Best lines/scenes: “Where’s the gotcha? Where’s the water cooler?” (Oscar) “I have this pet who egged the cable van.” (Hank) Bad movie references by Hank, Davis flirting with Brent, “It’s no fire log, that’s for sure.” (Lacey) “Be quiet!” (everyone else)

S05E02 – Spin Cycle – Karen and Davis sign up for Hank’s spin class, where Karen accidentally becomes the teacher’s pet. Meanwhile, Wanda gets a new cordless phone for Corner Gas which Oscar steals and uses as a cell phone, and Lacey agrees to be in Emma’s “Ladies of Dog River” naked fundraising calendar.
Best lines/scenes: ” Scene from The Breakfast Club at the end (Hank & Karen)

S05E03 – Whiner Takes All – It’s golf time, and Hank, Lacey and Brent take to the links. When Lacey wins, Hank whines Emma goes shopping for a new bed and comes home with a “slumbermatic” luxury model and dreams about Lloyd. Wanda bribes Davis to get out of a parking ticket, but it doesn’t work on Karen.
Best lines/scenes: “…losers and those who lose to losers. And you just lost to me!” (Hank) “Gotta go. My soup is here.” (Oscar)

S05E04 – Dark Circles – Hank decides to freak people out by making crop circles (dirt circles) and Brent freaks people out with a new, black shirt. Lacey drools a little over Black-shirt Brent, Wanda teases her, and Karen makes her own burnt crop circle. Oscar moves out when Emma hires a painter, and the whole town is abuzz about their “separation.”
Best lines/scenes: Emma hallucinating the painter is a vampire. Hank making lawn circles. “Does Davis know you’re wearing his pants?” (Hank) “Okay, I thought it was an exploding cow at first, but you set me straight.” (Hank) “Never mind my muffins.” (Brent)

S05E05 – Wash Me – Hank doesn’t want his truck washed, and Wanda flirts with the milk delivery guy. Oscar and Emma switch toiletries, so Brent thinks his smell is off. Karen draws sketches of Davis sleeping, so Lacey has an art show.
Best lines/scenes: “Is Mom here? Cuz I a kinda smell Lavender, Berry bouquet… Peach sensation, mountain rain…? Citrus breeze?” Later “Musk splash, arctic breeze… aqua sport… Mountain mist” (Brent) Scene where the boy scout smells Emma walking by… “Want a wash?” (Boy Scout) Oscar puts hair remover on his head.

S05E06 – The Eight Samurai – Wanda fills in for Phil at the bar, causing all kinds of problems, while Lacey tries to convince Brent to be kinder to the environment. Meanwhile, the twinning committee gets a samurai sword from Japan, and everybody uses and abuses it: Oscar cuts branches, Josh cuts sandwiches, Davis cuts paper. Hank helps at the bar, mixing appalling drinks in hollowed out potatoes.
Best lines/scenes: “Compostage … How about I just try not to step in any carbon?” (Brent) Drinks for Swinging Cats (the book) “That’s great if you want to get drunk and swing cats.” (Wanda) “We don’t want another Hankenvyorken.” (Oscar) The RCMP musical ride checkstop!

S05E07 – Buzz Driver – Hank gets Lacey to use his advertising board and Oscar drives school bus. Wanda gets all hopped up on the H (Haywire). Karen knocks out Davis with a punch.
Best lines/scenes: Kids with their noses on the windows of the bus. LOTS MORE

S05E08 – Classical Gas – The mayhem starts when the Leroy’s foster child, Jonathan, comes from Africa to thank them for sponsoring him all those years. Emma treats Jonathan like a little kid and Oscar can’t stop bragging about his doctor son. Lacey tries to introduce new items on the menu, but no one bites until she starts calling them “classics.” Karen breaks Corner Gas’ till, and Wanda reveals she can’t do basic math.
Best lines/scenes: “yeah, somebody’s got to pump gas for the healers.” (Lacey), Hank bouncing off Brent in the bar, “It’s just a ball of string.” (Hank)

S05E09 – Game, Set and Mouse – Davis helps Oscar help Wanda trap a mouse in Corner Gas. Hank and Brent invent a game where they try to get someone to believe something unlikely, which Lacey can’t seem to do properly. Karen and Emma try to cure Wanda’s sore back, using amateur chiropractics and hillbilly paste.
Best lines/scenes: “I prefer the kill and flush method.” (Oscar) “Holy hell, what’s that stink! Smells like you’re boiling fish heads in gasoline.” (Oscar) The ultimate mouse trap (the game), Brent and Hank giving Wanda the bumps.

S05E010 – Knit Wit of the Month – Hank takes up knitting as a hobby with Emma and her friends, only to discover that Emma just bitches about Oscar all the time. Lacey gives Josh an “Employee of the Month” award, Brent gives himself “Employer of the Month,” and Wanda becomes “Customer of the Month.” Oscar writes the seniors beat and Karen and Davis end up helping him.
Best lines/scenes: “It got cancelled. There was a derailment. No one was hurt.” (Emma) “Yes! Customer of the Month!” (Wanda, dancing), Wanda as an obnoxious customer, Brent’s sandwiches (pickles and jam, olives and sour cream), “This isn’t a Disney film, this is Oscar.” (Karen), Emma helping Hank shovel manure, complaining about Oscar, with her purse on her arm.

S05E11 – Top Gum – Wanda works as a fake real estate agent, selling a house to Lacey and Davis, which they flip. Hank gets an old gum machine and soon he and Oscar are in competition with Karen’s gumball machine. Brent discovers he has his mom’s water divination abilities… only his work on finding sewage.
Best lines/scenes: Hank singing a gum jingle, “…water deviation…” (Brent), many nicknames for Brent: man witch, warlock, Mr. chilly jolt, crap man, “No, you’re a pretty face behind the big bubble.” (Hank)

S05E12 – The ‘J’ Word – Davis wants to experience being locked in a car trunk, but after his 7-second experience, he can’t stop talking about it. Lacey decides to have a girls night, and a tarot card reader tells her she is going to marry Hank. Brent challenges his dad’s constant use of the word “Jackass” by doling out “Hammerhead,” only to find he can’t stop. Oscar comes up with some great alternative put-downs, and Hank is a goof pretending to be Lacey’s fiance. Wanda decides to give girls night some ‘nards.
Best lines/scenes: “Oh yeah, Hank’s first name starts with R!” (Brent) Davis writing poetry, Oscar’s new insults: moron, pinhead, butthead, nincompoop, fish brain, cabbage breath, barn smell
#fire_department

S05E13 – Outside the Box – Oscar catches on to Wanda crashing funerals. Karen and Brent start obsessing over Lacey’s un-opened box. Fitzy hires Emma to promote getting a call centre; Davis and Hank start calling people to petition against a call centre.
Best lines/scenes: Hank tranq-darting someone to get their signature. “But I like my shoes.” (Oscar) “…some people died, we had a few laughs, and snacks… now it’s time to move on.” (Wanda) “Would you say the quality of this call was somewhat satisfactory, very satisfactory or extremely satisfactory?” (Davis)

S05E14 – Contagious Fortune – Hank contracts pinkeye, which he then gives to Wanda and Brent. Oscar uses the cops’ photocopier to copy Dog River dollars and starts buying stuff, including gifts for Emma. Davis starts copying Karen in food orders, and she starts copying everything he does.
Best lines/scenes: Oscar butchering the word “chip clip”, Brent and Wanda trying to give away a floor bar (the chocolate bar Hank used to scratch his eye). Lots of great horror references! Wanda banging her head on the window. “…breached the pedometer!” (Hank) **ONE OF THE BEST EPISODES!!**

S05E15 – No Time Like the Presents – Oscar leaks info on what Emma got people for Christmas. Hank tries to go to Daylight Savings, and Lacey gets all insecure about whether Wanda is her friend or not.
Best lines/scenes: The whole scene with Brent, Hank and Davis discussing watching a fight on TV: “Ten to be specific, nine to be Pacific.” (Brent) Oscar pretending to be a cop (wearing Karen’s hat and using Davis’ nightstick.

S05E16 – Coming Distractions – Everything gets uncomfortable between Brent, Davis and Hank when Hank blackmails Brent and Davis to take him to Raptorman 2. Oscar convinces Fitzy he needs a sidewalk, and Wanda strikes again. Meanwhile, Emma and her friends invite Lacy to join the purple hats.
Best lines/scenes: Davis wearing raptor claws. “Don’t people know how to keep cat-bags shut!” (Oscar), cement-surveilance 101, Lacey wiping something off Hank’s face. Space Frat Party 3
#dogthebountyhunter

S05E17 – The Accidental Cleanist – Karen and Davis try to take advantage of Emma’s quirk: she starts cleaning things when she’s mad. Brent buys a tree as his legacy, which drives Oscar crazy, and Hank and Wanda spend time under Lacey’s deck.
Best lines/scenes: Hank and Wanda at the end with Wanda in a mustachio.

S05E18 – Bed and Brake Fast – Davis starts using Brent’s car as a ghost car, and pretty soon, Karen is using Wanda’s. Oscar and Emma start an unregistered bed and breakfast. Lacey bids on Hank as handyman-for-a-day, and he is mostly just a pain in the a$$.
Best lines/scenes: “Oh, yay, charades.” (Oscar)

S05E19 – The Final Countdown – Brent’s birthday approaches with much ado — 40-year-old scotch (which Hank drank), fireworks (which Wanda, Oscar and Davis set off), and two cakes baked by Emma and Lacey. Karen chases everyone around to get the birthday card signed.
Best lines/scenes: At the beginning, setting the clocks: “No, not now, then!” (Wanda) Guest appearance by Keifer Sutherland, Oscar baking fireworks in Lacey’s oven. All the stuff Oscar says after he loses his hearing!

Season 6

S06E01 – Full Load – Brent gives Emma his MP3 player, which Karen loads up with rap songs. Oscar gets away with murder, almost, because Emma can’t hear him with the “ear bugs” in her ears. Lacey’s competitive streak comes out when Brent enters her in an eating contest. She earns the perogy pig nose. Karen sells Hank’s truck to Wanda, and then vice versa, which starts an epic battle.
Best lines/scenes: “empty tree player… What station is this?… em bee pee player… MD2 player…” (Emma) “No, I’m not a pro. The pros know who I am.” (Brent) “I just ate 40 perogies in under a minute. Oh my God, I am a porker.” (Lacey)

S06E02 – Self-Serving – Hank wants to sell his laptop and before long, pits Oscar against Davis. Wanda tries to reinstate her status as rumour queen, starting rumours about Karen having a low IQ and Emma being an arsonist. Meanwhile, Lacey and Brent both discover the ups and downs of offering self-serve (and a buffet).
Best lines/scenes: Pyro and the Idiot

S06E03 – Bend it Like Brent – Brent and Lacey sponsor Davis’ soccer team, but soon become the “owners from hell.” Oscar and Emma buy a VHS tape with Wanda’s old news anchor audition tapes. Karen hits the ditch with Hank and makes Hank drive her around.
Best lines/scenes: Wanda being Winston Churchill.

S06E04 – Meat Wave – Karen and Davis win a meat raffle during a heat wave. Hank teases Brent about the air conditioner being cranked
Best lines/scenes: “You mean I put 5 sticks of butter down my pants for nothing?” (Hank) Scene where Lacey is giving compressions to “Darren” her electronic pet. “My buddy’s got a pound cake baking in his long johns. What do you mean what does that mean?” (Brent), Guest appearance by David Suzuki

S06E05 – All That and a Bag of Chips – Wanda tries to guess Hank’s password; Karen is a muffin-stealing cop, and Lacey and Davis just makes it worse. Emma and Oscar are fed up with Brent mooching all the time, so they decide to go to his house for supper.
Best lines/scenes: “He’s always over here moochin’. Drinkin’ our drinks, foodin’ our food… eaten’ our eats. He’s a no-good freeloader.” (Oscar)

S06E06 – Good Tubbin’ – Davis becomes Safety Pete to promote safety week, until Karen does it once and does back flips. Oscar and Emma get a hot tub, and Lacey learns they are creepy, frisky tubbers. Hank can’t stay at home — he backed through his front window — so Wanda tells Brent she is hosting him, but she’s actually just letting him camp at Corner Gas.
Best lines/scenes:”You drove here asleep? That’s not safe!” (Hank)

S06E07 – American Resolution – Hank, Wanda and Karen are all competing for bragging rights over who kept their New Year’s resolution the longest, unaware that Lacey was also in the running. Meanwhile, Davis has to learn how to make coffee and Brent and Emma — and half the town — trick Oscar into thinking he’s an American. They tease him about being too aggressive and perform goofy skits using Canadian terms for things — priceless!
Best lines/scenes: “This isn’t what it looks like.” (Hank, with a crow bar), Brent singing the American national anthem, Mr. Jackause at the passport office

S06S08 – Reader Pride – Brent, Lacey and Hank compete to be the best football fan, meanwhile, Karen has to read a book to Mrs. Carmicheal, with Oscar and sometimes Emma listening in. Davis starts making mix CD’s and Wanda gets in on the action.
Best lines/scenes: “Joe Dementia played baseball, jackass.” (Oscar) When Fitzy’s grandma asks Karen, Emma and Oscar to help at the seniors centre: “No. See how easy it is?” (Oscar) “No doubt” over and over again, with the high five (Lacey and Hank)

S06E09 – Rock Stars – Madame Wanza gets in trouble with Lacey when she gets caught scamming Davis for favours using the horoscope. After working out using an old army brochure, Hank starts “working out” with Emma in her garden — but mostly, he’s all talk. Brent takes guitar lessons from a young man who becomes his nemesis, who is related to an old enemy of Oscar.
Best lines/scenes:”Guns, pipes, pythons… hey, easy easy, I don’t you they’re new.” (Hank) “How far apart are the contractions.” (Emma) “How long does it take to hand over one little hammer!” (Oscar) Special Guest Gordon Pinsent as “Corky”

S06E10 – Shirt Disturber – When Karen earns “Officer Second Class” ranking, Wanda gives her a sweater Lacey had donated to a thrift store. Wanda goes back and buys all Lacey’s donations and wears them just to bug Lacey. Davis sells a security system to Oscar and Emma, but it’s too hard for them to operate, so they install a “Casio.” Brent and Hank go to Regina to meet a Peter Moore, a famous comic book artist, where Brent embarrasses himself and Hank is surprisingly cool.
Best lines/scenes: Davis practicing his shpiel for the alarm company. “It won’t explode, it’s decaffeinated.” (Emma) “I like the ducks.” (Wanda)

S06E11 – Cat River Daze – This episode has a distinct Archie comic book theme! Lacey stages a dunk tank to raise money for Dog River Days — Hank and Davis fight for their turn to be dunked, one-upping each other to be the most-disliked in town. Emma bugs Oscar to catch a stray cat, and Oscar falls in love with it, so Karen helps by adopting it. Brent pretends to hurt his foot, but then later he does it for real.
Best lines/scenes: “…one of the worst can-related injuries he’s ever seen.” (Brent), Emma and Oscar using the lyrics from “The cat came back,” “Mittens! Mittens! I’ve lost my mittens!” (Karen) Band appearance by The Odds

S06E12 – Super Sensitive – After telling one too many blonde jokes, Davis gets sent for sensitivity training — and he comes back a different man, uh, person. Hank’s seven-year string of bad luck finally ends, but Lacey’s superstitions are starting to show… so, of course, Brent has to tease them. Emma gives her gym membership to Wanda, and then she wins the raffle for a big screen TV.
Best lines/scenes: Sensitivity training video montage, Oscar and Wanda having their photo taken, “Friday’s the thirteenth, gas truck coming, Brent’s third thing, do the math, carry the two equals boom!” (Hank) “You ready to be desensinated?” (Oscar)

S06E13 – TV-Free Dog River – Emma tricks the town into entering a contest to go without TV for a whole week. Oscar and Lacey soon team up to offer secret TV to people in the Leroy’s basement. Davis starts an all-jazz radio station, which Karen ruins with cheesy sound effects. Brent sets up Hank and Wanda to fight each other and watches through a window, calling it “The Hank and Wanda Show.” It doesn’t take them long to sell out to advertisers!
Best lines/scenes: “A little Punky Brewster?” (Oscar), Wanda with her hair all done up (to advertise), Guest appearance by Michael Bublé!

S06E14 – Queasy Rider – When Wanda gets her aunt’s moped, she pretends she’s cruising Europe, while Emma goofs up Hank’s classy French greeting — the double kiss — resulting in a brief bumping of the lips! Lacey tricks Davis into helping her move, and he in turn tricks Karen into helping. Brent runs over Wanda’s moped, leaving it slightly scrambled.
Best lines/scenes: “It was a riding mower… I had to start it for him. He was afraid of the grass clippings hitting his legs.” (Emma) “I’m still releasing the safety.” (Karen) Hank imagining the kiss, “You did what with my wife?” (Oscar), Wanda and the Italian hit men, Hank fist-bumping Karen in the face

S06E15 – R2 Bee Too – Hank gets a robot, Davis orders R2D2 off ebay, Wanda and Oscar try to get rid of a bee hive, Brent starts trying new foods and becomes a food critic.
Best lines/scenes: ” Ooo, that’s heaven in a tube.” (Brent). Hank dances like a robot at the end.

S06E16 – Crab Apple Cooler – Brent and Hank try to relive their youth by invading Old Man Hafford’s yard to steal crab apples. Wanda puts her scathing wit to good writing consumer complaints to Crispy Spuds and, on behalf of Davis, Zoinks Cola. To pass the time, Lacey, Karen, Emma and Oscar start playing charades, where Oscar proves to be surprisingly good — at cheating!
Best lines/scenes: “… and may you all roast in hell. Respectfully yours, Davis Quintin” (Wanda) “When I was one, I put my back out reaching for a rattle.” (Brent) “…and when you say ‘grab his apples’ –” (Brent) “Doopity Doo!” (Oscar, playing drunk charades)

S06E17 – Happy Career Day to You – Davis convinces Lacey to convert the Ruby into “Ruby-Lou’s House of Food,” and Emma substitute teaches a class of 10-year olds. Wanda and Karen try to empress the kids, meanwhile, Oscar, Brent and Hank play tricks on each other with a 30-year-old Dingle-Puff.
Best lines/scenes: “Press 3 if you’ve found an old dingle puff.” All the scenes where Oscar is pretending to have food poisoning!

S06E18 – Get the F Off My Lawn – Need I say more? The title says it all! :) Besides the missing letters, Wanda is upset about the working conditions at Corner Gas, and Karen gets roped into judging a jam contest. When Emma doesn’t win, she goes a little Cujo-crazy.
Best lines/scenes: **TOO MANY TO SAY! ONE OF THE BEST EPISODES!**

S06E19 – You’ve Been Great, Goodnight – The series closer starts with a mystery — where does Brent go every Wednesday night? When the truth comes out, everyone overreacts in their own way! The ending? Brent’s not going anywhere, because everything he likes is right here.
Best lines/scenes: {sing-songy} “You have a girlfriend! Kissing, kissing up a tree!” (Lacey), the cop car hiding behind the surveillance bush, Hank pretending to talk to someone important, “I’m going to have to get you two different coloured tank tops.” (Wanda, with Kyle and Jared), “…zipped up on goofers.” (Oscar)

Home on the Farm

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So, I’m finally going to update you, my lovely readers, on what is going on with me and my husband on the farm! Thanks for your patience!
This year, my parents decided to move off the farm and into town to officially retire. This is a huge step for them — they’ve lived in this one place for all their married life, which is over 40 years. My dad didn’t want to be one of those old farmers who just doesn’t know when to quit, so he has been downsizing for a few years and this year, they were ready to make the big move.
So, my husband and I decided to take over. Although I love the North, moving back to the farm I grew up had such appeal to me, I just couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
So, we did it! We packed up all our possessions, loaded them into the biggest truck that UHAUL rents, and moved south. What an insane week that was! It took two trips, seven days (with one rest day in the middle) and I think we logged something like 3200 km on that UHAUL!!
uhaul nearly full
We put our house on the market — our real estate agent came by to take photos WHILE we were starting to pack! She did an amazing job staging our home! For as long as this link works, you can see our listing here.
I don’t know how we accumulated so much stuff. It’s crazy. And we don’t need most of it, by far. I am seriously wanting to declutter and so as we unpacked, I started making up boxes of things to give away — I know, it seems like we did it in reverse, but my parents were anxious to move and not have the house on the farm empty for more than a couple of days. So, we moved in haste! Not the recommended way to move! On the first trip, we got away a bit later than planned — those last few things always take longer to load than you think — so we drove all night to get to our new home. We figured we might as well just git ‘er done!
Has living on the farm affected me yet, other than the pleasant rural slang? I don’t think so. I went through a frustrating stage where I couldn’t find anything. I went through an overjoyed stage, where I was like a kid playing on the yard! So glad for some time off, some sunshine (October was so lovely!), and so glad to be with my honey again!
Main barnThings have settled in a bit, and although I am still very grateful to be here, regular doses of reality keep me grounded. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have dreams! I have SO many ideas for things we can do on the farm! I want to convert one (or 2?) of the buildings here into a greenhouse, and fix fences and get some sheep to “mow” the grass, and maybe get some ducks and some more chickens (I only have two at the moment)… :) There is a main barn, several graineries and other small buildings, and a milk house, garage, and large shop space all with wood stoves, and corrals and fences all over the place. I could go in a hundred different directions, but here’s what I think is the biggest, best idea:

I want to turn the farm into a “care farm.”

I want to have animals and a greenhouse that people can visit when they are not feeling well and they need to reconnect with nature. They might be fighting an illness or facing death, or recovering from a stressful incident. The farm will be a place they can go for a walk, see the sheep, cows, and chickens — maybe even rabbits!! — and enjoy the outdoors. Although this is the dream, I don’t have a detailed plan, so I’m really excited to see how it all unfolds!
Contact me if you’re interested in finding out more, or if you have an idea or a desire to help!
(Click for larger version of photos below.)
overview looking west
looking west in corral
big machinery
dugout
The bush behind the house
Sunset field

A Brush With Death — But Not How You Think

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I made my debut into full-time management this summer. Some very good friends of mine who own a store in High Level bought another one in Grouard. It is a convenience store with a liquor store as well, and since it’s right along the highway, we knew that it had huge potential. Down the road a little ways are two cottage/camping areas (Hilliard’s Bay Estates and Shaw’s Point Resort) and Hilliard’s Bay Provincial Park — all very busy throughout the summer months.
I agreed to be the manager for the summer to get the store off the ground, and then in the fall, my husband and I would move to my parents’ farm so they could retire. They had found and were arranging to buy their “dream house” and back in February, Darren and I had decided to take over the farm — but I’ll leave that excitement for another post!
Since April, I’ve been so incredibly busy (hence only one blog post), but nothing compares to managing the store in Grouard. I left my job at the Fort Simpson airport earlier than planned because breakup was coming — that period of time when you can only helicopter across the Liard River. So, I gave just 2 weeks notice to my job and was outta there. For the rest of April and the first half of May, I helped a friend by working at her greenhouse. I know I talked about this in my previous post, but I gotta say again how I loved working at Sunscape! It was hard work at times, but I loved being surrounded by living things and Alex was so great to work for! Not to mention that whenever the sun was out, the greenhouse became gloriously warm and tropical — I could have just moved in there! But, just after Mother’s Day, I was done there and had to quickly get ready for Grouard.
My friends had bought the store weeks earlier, and they’d hired a small army of men to renovate it in order to open for May long weekend. I had been out to the store twice — the first time was to help with inventory, just after they’d purchased the store and then later to help load and move some new counters and shelving to the store. The whole place was painted (even the floor), a back room was opened up and converted into the liquor store, the washrooms were moved and redone, and lots of additional lighting and electrical outlets were installed. When I got there 2 days before we were to open, there was a ridiculous amount of work to do! We had to put stock out, price and arrange it, program the tills, set up the internet and interac machines, clean everything, train the staff, make up price lists for things that weren’t stickered, and on and on. If you’ve ever opened a store, you are probably twitching right now and curling up into a ball on the floor! It is so hectic. And it didn’t let up much for over a month.
The really; long days only went on for a couple of weeks; I opened the store at 8 AM and closed the store at 10 PM and then worked for an extra 2 hours on planning, scheduling and other tasks. But there was always so much to do and no one else to do it, so I worked 14- to 15-hour days all summer. All summer. I did not go paddling until the end of August, and only because someone asked me to teach them how to kayak. I did not have a single day off or away from Grouard from the middle of May to the middle of June when I made a quick trip to Edmonton to pick up the York boat!
york boat grouardMy anxiety increased considerably after getting the York boat. Sure, it was a thrill to drive down the highway towing it, and I felt awesome taking corners really wide! I was pretty damn good at towing it. But once I had it in Grouard, I had to do something with it. For a couple of weeks, I towed it to the store every day so people could ogle it and ask questions about it. I boldly put up a sign that revealed my big idea: “York boat day tours, July and Aug.” But I just couldn’t make it happen.
I was exhausted. Every day, I kept the store running — some days, I kept it open, because when staff cancelled or called in sick, I didn’t have anyone else to replace them. So I stayed. I worked double shifts almost every day, for one reason or another. At the end of every day, I was wiped out. I was “keeping it together” by staying diplomatic, polite, friendly, and dealing well with my challenging staff members, but I didn’t have any extra energy — mental or physical energy — to give to the York boat and my dream of offering day tours for the general public.
One time in mid-July, I had a short reprieve. I snuck away to go to my sister’s (a 2-hour drive) for a spa party. I thought it would be good to see some family and get away from the store — maybe get some perspective. But what did that perspective show me? I had become a shell of a person. The chronic sleep deprivation was stealing my humanity. I was a zombie. Everyone around me was cheerful and responsive — or sassy or skeptical, whatever their personality was — and I was just sitting there. I was trying to absorb what was going on around me, but I couldn’t interact properly. I was lagging a few seconds behind everyone else and I just wasn’t myself.
I felt a little better the next morning when I went into town to buy a few things I needed. My runners were completely wearing out after being on my feet so much, so I got some new shoes and sandals. But, I drove straight back to the store and got back into it. Before long, though, I arranged to have a week off at the end of July. The store owners — my friends — could see I needed a break and I couldn’t argue. I knew I needed one too, but how could I take it? We were still having staffing troubles and there was still so much that only I knew how to do! So, I started training the full-time staff on what to do and I started working on the store manual, which I had thought up back in the beginning so everything would run smoothly when I left in September. So, more long hours working on that.
sunsetIn many ways, the summer was a blur and I have very few clear memories, but a couple stand out. One evening, I came back to the cabin where I was staying, sat down by the fire and broke down. I just cried and cried. Out of exhaustion, frustration, for opportunities lost. A couple of days later, it happened again, and I started to think that maybe I should just quit. Then I could finally get some sleep! Then I could go canoeing or kayaking on the water. But I couldn’t. There was no one to replace me, and I  couldn’t let my friends down. Summer is a key window of opportunity for a business like this, and this first summer even moreso to set the stage for what the store would be like with these new owners. You never get another chance to make a first impression, and all that. So there was no way out. I had to finish this gig, or at least, get the staff trained on how to run things without me.
But the brutal scheduled continued, and by the last week of July, I started to think about the ultimate way out, suicide. I just couldn’t go on. I was so exhausted, and I wasn’t myself. I actually broke down in my office at the store one night, the last night before I was to start my week off. I was supposed to go see a friend that night (about an hour and half drive away), but store duties had taken up my time and it was too late to make the drive now. So I cried. I missed her, and I needed to see her so badly, but you can’t argue with time.
Burned in my clearest memory is that night: I cried on the bed, knowing how I could end myself, knowing I had what I needed to do it, but knowing that it would cause such pain to my family and friends, that I couldn’t. But I wanted to. Oh, I really wanted to.
But the battling voices in my head reminded me that I wanted to go to Europe with my honey. I wanted to see those quaint villages in Italy and Greece, perched on hillsides above the ocean. There were places I wanted to see. So, I decided not to check out yet.
The next day, I guess I got up and drove home to High Level. It’s a blur. I don’t really remember how I felt. I know I worked on renovations on the house that week, and saw my honey and got a bit more sleep. Things improved and I never felt as low as I did that night in July. At times I felt outright happy I was still here, that I hadn’t killed myself. I had a changed perspective — that customer who was annoyed because we ran out of Clamato didn’t matter much (we ran out of things lots, we had such great sales). The trees looked more lovely, and the York boat was a non-issue. I still thought about that night in July at times, and it took me a while to shake the experience off. I mean, I had nearly killed myself. I couldn’t just go along like nothing happened, or nothing was wrong.
And the thing is, nothing was wrong with me. The only explanation was my awful lack of sleep. I slept a lot in September and October, and I am back to my old self again — optimistic, positive, easy-going… Very easy-going, if I may say so!
So, that was my summer. :) It was one in a hundred (I hope) and never to happen again. It was an experiment in sleep-deprivation that I would never want replicated. It was an experiment in working 9 days a week — 5 shifts/week on the floor, 2 shifts/week of management stuff and then every weekend is 5 + 2 + 2 = 9. I had so much banked overtime, I am being paid well into the fall, at a full-time rate, to use it all up. It was an exercise in people management but most importantly, it was an opportunity to know myself better. And I met some of the nicest people in the whole world up there, and made many new friends.
I think I lost something that night in July. I’m not sure what it is, but now that I’ve caught up on my sleep, I am more serene and unperturbable. I was already pretty level-headed (although a few staff pushed me a lot!), but now I am different. Maybe my whole emotional scale has been shifted up — I just don’t get angry or afraid for anything now. I am so grateful for where I am now, maybe just because I’m grateful to still be here! Eckhart Tolle writes about losing his ego when he had his near-suicide experience, so maybe that’s true for me too. All I know, is I am grateful for everything that happened this summer, and excited about the future.

A Place of Positivity

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I don’t know what I’d do without my intuition.

I am using it all the time, because I am constantly forced to make decisions and judgement calls with little or no information to go on. I’m so far outside my comfort zone, I can’t even see where it used to be. Mind you, because of that, I’m starting to get more *comfortable* here, even though that seemed utterly unlikely just one month ago.

Sunscape gardensLots of changes have been going on for me! In April, I left my job up north, in Fort Simpson, and moved back to High Level. I immediately started working at a friend’s greenhouse, Sunscape Gardens. I’ve never worked at a greenhouse before, and I found I really enjoyed it! I got to play in the dirt, transplant all sorts of plants, grow some from seed, and do a considerable amount of heavy lifting. But I love all that! It was hard work, but it was good work, and it was a positive environment and relatively stress-free. Sometimes, my back was aching at the end of the day, and I was usually covered in a fine dusting of peat moss, but that’s my style!

In mid-May, however, it all came to an end. I had agreed a few months ago to help some other friends of mine by taking on the manager job at a convenience store they had just purchased. They did a bunch of renovations and we wanted to open the store before the May long weekend. It was an absolute sprint to get it done, and then the marathon began.

Ferguson's Market2I can’t believe how much work it is! I worked something over 20 days in a row, because I didn’t have enough staff hired and trained to take a full day off. I tried to take a weekend off, and then one of my staff got into a bad car accident and has not returned to work yet! There were a hundred items that needed prices assigned and stickers stuck, food and hardware and camping and toys and fishing stuff and crafts and chips and you-name-it that needed organizing, and there is on-going cleaning, restocking of pop and beer coolers — yes, it has a liquor store. Add to that the challenge of learning how all the suppliers work, how to place orders, how much of something to order, and other managerial stuff like making bank deposits and staff schedules. We sometimes run out of things because I can’t always grasp the volume of things we sell! Choosing what price to put on stuff was a particular challenge when we couldn’t find receipts for things — or they were old stock, so receipts were MIA — and I would sometimes resort to the internet to see what kinds of prices were out there. I had to learn SO much that first two weeks, I went to bed every night exhausted after a 15-16 hour day, only to get up and do it again the next day.

But, it is getting easier! And it is going well. I have good staff, and I hope that soon they will start to see each other as good as well! There’s a little bit of bad-talking going on, which I am working on putting a stop to. I think I’m going to post a sign like this somewhere:

This is a place of positivity!
All of you are so appreciated!
I see the good in each of you,
So please look for the good in each other, too.

I know it is all going to work out great. Sure, some days I am swallowed up in the tasks of ordering groceries, or liquor, or a million other things that demand my attention. But you know, I must be loving it, because I’m still doing it! And I always was a pretty good multi-tasker.

This is just a short-term thing for me, though. In the fall, new adventures await, and in fact, there is more to say about the summer, too, but bed is calling. I’ll try to write more soon, but time goes by so fast!