After having a few days to reflect on my time spent on relief in Black Lake, I have come to a conclusion...There is a reason it is called Black lake! I think that Black refers to the ancient art of Black magic or Voodoo of some sort...Here is my tale as I remember it.
It was a dark and stormy night, well it was dark anyway. Apparently the power having been out to the two staff houses since 12:30 in the afternoon, and here it begins! After taking some time to get to know the Manager and his Wife, I am getting increasing worried about whether the power would be back on so I could have some light while acquainting myself with my shelter for the next 2 weeks. We were told that a rep from Sask-Power was flying in and power should be restored by 10:30pm. The night goes, our power guy shows up and drives circles around town, going back and forth between Stoney Rapids Black Lake looking for the issue and attempting to turn on the power.
After waiting until 11:30, I decide it is time to go to bed, so I say my goodbyes and head over to the house. On the way out the door, the manager says, oh, I don’t think there is any bedding at the house. Oh...I see....Well, ok, off to the store I go at midnight to get some bedding. 30 mins later, bed in a bag, 2 pillows and a blanket later, I go to the house and let myself in. I finally find the bedroom and find that there is a DOUBLE bed on top of a QUEEN box spring and not the complete QUEEN bed that I was told to expect. So the QUEEN sheets that I bought are a little TOO big. So, what the hell..it’s only for a couple of weeks. I think to myself, “This would be MUCH easier if I had a couple of candles.” So, off to the store I go again. NO CANDLES, well I wasted a trip. Guess I will have to make my bed by flashlight.
So, bed is made, I am ready for bed, 12:30 now, time for bed. House is nice and quiet so you hear every single noise without the power. Why is the toilet still running??? I can’t sleep with that running...NO too cold to get up, I’ll block it out. 1:30, still too cold, power will be on soon to mask the noise. 2:30, ok, I am really tired...gotta get SOME sleep, let’s see if I can get the toilet to stop running. Toilet is fixed, I think I can get some sleep. 4:30, HA! Power is back. Oh Crap, IM BLIND!!!! No dummy, you forgot to turn off the light switch. Have to get up and turn off the lights. Ok, back in bed grabbing at the elusive sun dot I see in every direction that I look. 5:30, heater cutting in and out, vents buckling, house too hot, should have checked the thermostat. It can wait until morning. Ok, 7 o’clock I’m Up!
Ok, off to have a shower. NO WATER??! You have to be kidding me! I get dressed, head over to the store. Work with Joanne, who was not expecting me to work until Monday. Something the manager and I never discussed. Oh well, I might as well do some taxes while I am in. Talk to the Manager after work, explain about the water. “oh, maybe it’s frozen.” Does this happen often I ask? “No. Just as long as you don’t shut off the toilet”. Great, something else that I could have been told before moving in, don’t you think?? Apparently the water line runs from the manager’s house, 3 inches below the frozen solid ground and then into the staff house. Great! What moron designed this? Ok, so now what? Well, the manager chuckles and says, “we’ll get Billy to dig it up on Monday.” Dig up the frozen ground? “Yeah, he will have that dug up in no time.” Ok, he’s going to dig up 4-5 inches of frozen dirt?
4 Days later, 20 buckets of toilet flushing water later, still no water. My ground digger has been burning the ground to melt the ice to dig up the line. Decides to take the weekend off and go to Fond Du Lac, 2 hours away, for a drunk. Friday arrives and finally there is someone else working on it. Water line is finally dug up and thawing out in the furnace room. Friday, 4pm, I have WATER! What a luxury after having to bath in a sink all week, I get to have a real shower. I get ready, turn on the water...I didn’t get to have my shower...it was more of a trickle...Better than nothing.
Monday comes. The Manager is due back from his conference. I am about to do dishes and realize...I HAVE NO WATER AGAIN! I walk over to the managers house and notice the water line has come apart and is pouring everywhere. I knock on the door. “I have no water again. The Water line came apart.” “Oh yeah, I noticed that when we came home a couple of hours ago”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? So, again, 11:30 at night, I am outside fixing the waterline with his daughter holding a flashlight waving it around like Luke Skywalker fighting Darth, while he is in having a smoke. THERE! Fixed enough that I have water again.
Ok, it’s Wednesday. I get to go home! I get to see my kids tomorrow! I get to see my wife! I guess I should go in and see if Wes needs any help before we go to the airport. I get in around 9. The manager goes to lunch at 11. Comes back at 12 and asks if I can run a till. Um, yeah? Good, that way I can send Rhonda for lunch. So NOW I am on cash. I ask the manager if he can call and see what time boarding is as my flight is scheduled to depart at 1:40pm. He says it is ALWAYS late. Ok, figure he has flown out of here more times than I have. I ask him to call anyway, they tell him 1:40. We leave at 1pm and he decides we have time to stop at the dump to empty the truck out. 1:35 we arrive at the airport. The plane is already boarded and they will not let me on. You can imagine the colourful words I used. I am pissed. The manager is laughing. Off to the store in Stoney we go to see if I can book another flight. “It will cost you $31.50” I’m told by a Woman at Trans West. I think she is the best person in the world at that very minute for getting me out of there before I go mad. Flight leaves at 6:55pm. I tell the manager to go back to Black Lake without me as I am staying here in Stoney to help the manager while I wait for my flight.
Ok, 6pm, I am at the airport waiting for the plane to arrive. “ok, folks. The Flight to Saskatoon is running late...we will TRY and get you out by 7:30 or so.” OMG! Finally at 7:45 we board the flight to freedom and on my way to seeing my family. My luck changes as soon as I get on the plane. Flight to Saskatoon I have 2 seats all to myself. Hotel in Saskatoon, King size bed, shower, room service, no need to get up early as I have a late flight, internet and a phone. Flight from Saskatoon to Calgary and Edmonton were nice and quiet and I had the emergency exit row so lots of leg room. First Air to Yellowknife, I had 3 seats all the way up and we arrived 20 mins early, my family waiting for me at the airport. I can’t ask for much more.
In closing...Black Lake has now been stricken from the places that I will ever WANT to VISIT again! Can anyone blame me?? Home at last!