Maybe They Did Take Geography in School

My daughter, her husband and my two grandchildren, live in Alaska. That makes it a challenge to keep in touch properly particularly with people like me, who are prone to procrastination.

I aways swear that, this year, I will get our parcels off in good time and each year I find Christmas getting closer and closer before I actually wrap thing up and send them on their way.

This year Amazon saved my bacon when it came to my grandchildren. They gift wrap too which really took the heat off. When it came to  a gift for my daughter and her husband we thought way ahead. My partner, a skilled craftsperson, made a special gift for our kids in Ontario and Quebec and for our family in Alaska. I have to note that she made these gifts in July so we could get them off in plenty of time for Christmas.

So, on December 9th, still way ahead of the game by my standards, I headed down to FedEx to get the parcel shipped north. I thought 16 days is plenty of time for surface delivery even taking into account a few inevitable snowstorms. They promised delivery by December 16th. I felt confident in my decision.

Now, one of the best features of shipping FedEx, I thought, is their tracking system. I love it. I spend a lot of time at my keyboard so can I check progress several times a day.

I started getting nervous when I noticed the package had arrived in Winnipeg. That is 571 kilometres in the wrong direction. Then it sat in Manitoba for the weekend. The next stop was Grand Forks North Dakota. Another 147 Kilometres off course. The next day it was in St. Paul and I thought "Ok, they have decided to hook up with a major American shipping route and it will soon start to turn west."

Next stop Chicago. By now I wasn't starting to panic but I had some serious questions about FedEx's sense of direction. Did they sleep through geography in school? Did those dispatchers think AK is the postal abbreviation for Arkansas?

It sat in Illinois for 36 hours, 1991 km off course. It was December 15th. A day before the promised delivery.

Then by some miracle a new entry saying On the truck for delivery - Anchorage.`` This morning an e-mail saying, the package arrived safely, on the date promised and is safe and sound, under the tree in Anchorage.

Next year I think I`ll get to it all a bit earlier...then again, it did get there.


Some Times it Makes you Wonder

Peter Plays Dress up
Defense Minister Peter Mckay loves to wave the military's flag and does so every chance he gets. He and his boss Stephen Harper love to play dress up, and get their pictures taken in military garb, rubbing shoulders with the troops. He just loves the look of camouflage.
McKay was in the news this week giving us all glowing reports about how military Griffin choppers were being used to rescue people stranded in the snow in Ontario. Peter is Canada's number one military booster.   Ask him any time.

Unfortunately Peter is only really there when solders are healthy and under active duty. Wounded, that is another matter altogether. A guy with his leg blown off just doesn't give you the same warm and fuzzy feeling. The Harper Government has fallen way short when it comes to supporting those wounded or otherwise disabled in the field.

This isn't a new story but it is one that the Conservatives have managed to ride out so far.
There is a new twist on this story though out of Ontario.

The  Ontario Trial Lawyers Association says they are astounded by the "hurdles, the runarounds and the hardships” Canada’s veterans face when they try to collect federal military service and disability benefits.
“These veterans fight for our country and they really should not have to fight for these benefits,” said lawyer Patrick Brown, chair of the new initiative. About 40 members are taking part in the new program, called Trial Lawyers for Veterans. “If we can help out, we will,” said Brown. “The commitment from our volunteers is to offer free services. It is all pro bono.”
After suffering devastating injuries from roadside or suicide bombers, missile attacks, vehicle rollovers or gunshot wounds, the veterans are often stunned when they find themselves battling Ottawa for money, for a job and for respect.
Peter McKay hasn't said if he is embarrassed by all this. Of course, he could argue that these men and women are not his responsibility anymore. Once they are wounded and ultimately leave the service they fall under another ministry. They are Veterans Affairs Minister Jean Pierre Blackburn's problem now. 
Peter is reported to be looking for another photo op.