The Adventures of The Audrey Eleanor- Part 10

Mice in The Hice

Mice in The Hice

We are docked in Prince Rupert, B.C. It feels great to be back in Canadian waters.  Audrey has been de-registered in record time thanks to Sheila (she is amazing) and we are once again Canadian registered with our home Port being Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.  We were never boarded by the U.S. homeland security, but the threat was always there like a heavy, very oppressive weight hovering over our bow. There is something about 18 year old boys with 50 calibre machine guns at their disposal that makes us really nervous. (The homeland security team in Alaska)

“Audrey Eleanor” had called Prince Rupert home for ten years prior to us taking her north to Haines, Alaska. Her former owners Blake and Amy along with old admirers showed up for a general inspection. The beer and yarns flow thick and fast. (We had to shovel her out the next day, the B.S. levels were high)  It was a great homecoming for the grand old lady after a two-year absence. We reluctantly leave our moorage at the Cow Bay docks in Prince Rupert and disappear with muffled engines into drizzle and fog.

As we motored away little did we know that we had acquired a stowaway who would drive us to the depths of despair.  He is darkly handsome, short and round with glossy black fur and an exceptionally long tail.  The little bugger is everywhere.  Our rule is that we have enough dry and canned goods aboard to last a month.  I have sprout seeds to provide live green stuff, we also experiment with sea asparagus and seaweeds and supplement some of these strange “greens” as the Captain refers to them with fish and crab.  Of course you sometimes come across a little corner store at the end of a falling down dock, which has vegetables lingering in bins that no one else wants, this is why they are still here of course.  These tiny supply stores can be miles in between nowhere.

His trail of red lentils gives him away.  It’s the strangest thing… to see trails of red lentils appearing and disappearing through out the boat. Then beautiful white toilet paper flowers began to show up in the dresser drawers and in closets. These kind of white flowers you sometimes see along the banks of the Yukon River (the toilet paper kind).  These ones are the nest type though.

One of the few things we do not have on board is mice or rattraps.  We are three hours out of Prince Rupert and not about to let a little mouse drive us back to port.  The Captain reverts back to his days of trapping and life is exciting.  There are water buckets set up with little ramps and string lines strung across the mouths of buckets to rotating bait…none of this is working.

Three days of mouse may not seem like a long time, but we are up close and very personal here…he scratches around at night, we can hear him under our berth, I start to think that I can hear him breathing. He has destroyed a month’s worth of beans, rice and a whole extra large bag of lime-flavoured nacho chips has simply vanished.  He leaves the empty bag as if to say in your face people.

When your time comes, your time comes.  The Captain gets up early and makes his way to the head (toilet) to find an extremely exhausted mouse swimming laps in the toilet bowl.  There is no sympathy; the intruder is immediately pinched by his long tail and lopped through the air, off the stern of the boat and he hits the water with a plop.  The crew and Captain feel a great sense of relief and a fish receives an early breakfast.  We are mouse free!!

The weather has been terrible so we are now sleeping up in the saloon on the floor.  We have better visibility up here.  I roll over on the mattress and look down through the focscle to the forward head. You can imagine my horror when I catch a glimpse of a very, very fat furry butt diving into a crevice in the wall.  This for sure is Mrs. Mouse and she looks like she will deliver a horde of lentil munchers at any moment.

If we don’t catch her before all of those babies are born, we will have to bring Audrey up on the hard and de-mouse her with some nasty chemical type stuff.  My theory about killer chemicals for rodents and bug sprays is, if it kills them it will kill us.  We may be bigger, but it will only take a little longer. To take a 30 tonne yacht up on the hard (land) is extremely expensive.  Regardless, there are no facilities in this remote area to handle us.  We would have had to live with the mouse infestation for two weeks or more, depending on the weather.

If Mr. Mouse was difficult to catch, Mrs. Mouse makes him look like an amateur.  She becomes bold enough to run over us as we try to sleep in the saloon.  I have to sleep with my head under the blankets, I am afraid that she will get caught in my hair.  The stress of her invasion is driving us crazy.  We are doing the sea going version of caddy shack.  I am beginning to appreciate that we don’t have a gun.  While I would not miss the mouse I would be concerned about a hole being blasted in the hull.  The Captain has had enough.

She calmly enjoys our peanut butter bait every evening and continues to build toilet paper nests in the hold, in the galley (closer to the peanut butter bait) the stash of toilet paper is almost depleted…things are getting serious.  She does not forget however, to leave her lovely little black offerings everywhere that she has been.  We are at our wits end.

Necessity IS the mother of invention.  Simultaneously we yell “the heads!”  The Captain smears a 2”x 2” piece of blue Styrofoam with the last of the peanut butter.  The bait gets set afloat in the head.   Well, my goodness gracious if Mrs. Mouse doesn’t fall into the same trap as her husband, we find her swimming exhausted in the head the next morning.  Without hesitation she is lopped off the stern of the boat as well and another fish is fed.  If anyone for one second feels any sympathy for this terrorizing critter, you should live with mice in your hice!

P.S. a young Inuit girl that I went to school with in Kugluktuk insisted that if mice was plural for mouse, then hice had to be plural for house, you couldn’t have one without the other.  People in the house were also a cause for it to be plural.  It has stuck in my head.  Her English was much better than my Inuktituk.

Embracing Mentorship

Embracing Mentorship

The greatest feeling in the world is the feeling of watching someone you are close to and grow up to be a great person under your influence. Obviously, becoming a parent will provide plenty of these emotions, but not everyone has the ability or the yearning to take care of a child all day, every day. Young adults, in particular, want to assume an authoritative role, but are not yet ready for parenthood. So how can anyone, regardless of age, become a mentor? Read on to find out.

Many organizations, like Big Sisters or Big Brothers, pair up younger children who are having difficulties socially, emotionally, or academically with a responsible, commendable older ‘sibling’. With your young charge, you go on out trips, teach them life lessons, give them advice, and help them with schoolwork. After all, you have (perhaps marginally) more life experience than them. As time goes on, your younger sibling will start to emulate your positive actions and take your words to heart, looking up to you as a role model. If you don’t want to commit long term, there are many other places out there which offer once in a while opportunities, so be sure to spend some time searching for listings in your area.

If structure and formal mentoring are not what you’re looking for, consider babysitting the kids in your neighborhood. There are plenty of parents searching for someone responsible and enthusiastic to take their children on an out trip for a day, giving them the chance to take a day off. Be friendly, approachable, and listen well to what the kids say; but be sure to impart some of your wisdom on to them as well. Try to look to them as equals instead of inferiors, and keep an open mind. You might end up making more than a few new friends (and some money too).

Most schools offer programs where you sign up to volunteer at a sister elementary school. After you sign up, you get assigned a younger buddy, and the two of you spend the day together when the schools meet up for field trips. In addition, you have the chance to write letters to them, receive crafts from them, and make a friend for life. Keep in touch even after the program ends and you can still visit each other outside of school and possibly be lifelong friends.

Even if you do not have anyone to mentor, you can still be a role model by being positive, respectful, and kind to people in general. You never know who is watching. If you keep being the best self you can be, your goodness may rub off unintentionally on to the kids (and everybody else) in the community, so set yourself up to mentor not just a few children, but your neighborhood at large.

Back to School Shopping Demystified

Back to School Shopping Demystified

Whether you are a parent or a student, back to school time can be incredibly stressful. New clothes, new supplies, new everything…the costs can add up FAST! However, it does not have to be this way. A lot of stores offer exclusive back to school offers sometime in August, so as long as you hold tight to your common sense, flyers, and patience, you’ll be fine come September. A few simple tricks can ensure you go back with the newest supplies, coolest clothes, and cash in your pocket.

It may take a little digging, but I’m sure you’ve kept most of the leftover supplies from the past school year. If they are still in good condition (pens have ink, erasers not terribly dirty, binders not too shredded…), consider reusing them. Yes, they’re not the fad right now, but fads return; and wouldn’t you feel better toting around your slightly beaten up lucky binder than a teensy ‘stylish’ thing that doesn’t close properly? Same goes for clothes. Most of your wardrobe can be worn again this year. If you’re desperate for new clothes, you can look up instructions to deconstruct and upcycle some of your older pieces.

We all know that flyers are a pain; after all, no one likes the colourful, but worthless junk mail stuffed into their boxes. However, before you throw them out, look them over for any deals or coupons on back to school essentials. The right store can save you a lot of cash. Flyers are great for comparing prices, as well as giving you an overview of all of the items the store has in stock from the comfort of your own home. Even better, a lot of stores have price match, so if you find a lower price in a competing store’s flyer, they will lower the price for you!

Most important of all, be patient. There is a small, but significant window in mid to late August, where everything will be heavily marked down. Therefore, doing your shopping early might not be beneficial to your wallet, even though there may be better selection. However, don’t wait too long. Usually, the minute mid September rolls around, the deals are gone, or all the good merchandise is.

Back to school is a very exciting time. You see your friends again, with brand new things to show off. As exciting as shopping for it may be, keep in mind that school is primarily for learning, and isn’t a venue for bragging about your stylish designer clothes or your new binder. It’s okay if you don’t have the ‘coolest’ things. Just be comfortable with and grateful for what you do have, and you can’t go wrong.