Didn’t I just go on vacation like yesterday?

On the Ball column by Craig Lindsay, Aug. 5 issue of the Grand Forks Gazette.

While I’m back from another vacation. I had a week off which ended up being 10 days when you add in the weekends and the stat holiday on Monday. Weekends off are never a given when you are a reporter so it was nice to have that extra time. I was able to travel to Vancouver Island and do some camping and exploring.

I also got to stay with my mom in Oliver which is always a treat. The lake is beautiful at this time of year—actually, any time of year but you get the point.

I’m always amazed at my mom’s ability to nap at any time in front of the TV. Me, I need a nice bed and quiet and darkness before I will succumb to sleep. Mom will be knitting and fall asleep mid-stitch. The TV can be blaring and she has no problem snoozing. Of course, if I try and open a cupboard in the kitchen and sneak out a bag of chips, she’ll awaken instantly and give me the “what are you doing in there?” scold.

Funny how no matter what age we are (am I really almost 50?) when we go home we’re like children once again. I guess that never ends which is the way it should be.

So I tried to get my mom hooked up with Netflix. Since Dad passed a few years back she has gotten more interested in computers and electronics. She inherited Dad’s Samsung Tab (iPad type) and has been using it since. She loves to check email and read the latest news about Oliver on the local paper’s website.

My father loved to watch sports on the big TV. Golf mostly, but also hockey, curling, baseball, football, and even my beloved basketball. He also liked online pools whether for money or not. I always run basketball pools and he was invariably the first to sign up.

Now that mom has full reign of the living room TV, there’s a lot less sports. She still likes to watch golf but prefers PBS style British murder mysteries usually with some curmudgeonly old detective.

For a while now her friends have been talking up Netflix and she is interesting in getting it. So we went out and got a Chromecast device to plug into the TV. The idea is you put Netflix on the tab and it wirelessly projects onto the TV through the Chromecast.

While, I couldn’t find the Netflix app on her tab. It said the tab was too old. So I found a work around and downloaded an older Netflix app from a website. While that worked fine and I signed her up. But the “casting” wouldn’t work either because the tab was too old. So the device was basically useless and we’re back to square one.

Fortunately, she will be able to watch Netflix through Telus Optiks, which she signed up for.

So after all that I headed to the island for some camping. I’m not much of a camper but after spending $75 on the ferry (each way) I sure the heck couldn’t afford any motel.

Last year I borrowed camping gear from my sister. It worked pretty well except for the air mattress which kept deflating. Now I’m a large fellow so I get it but it was still pretty annoying. I would finally get to sleep after an hour of being serenaded by crickets and owls and I would awaken another hour later on a flat mattress. I would then have to flip myself over and push myself up and try to find the opening flap and not trip over the entrance as I basically launch myself out of the tent which is certainly not made for grown men.

Then I would take the deflated mattress and pump to the nearby washroom building to pump it up and hopefully not wake everyone up in the campsite.

Anyways, the new air mattress worked much better. It has a hand or foot pump and was able to last the entire four days with no problems.

That’s not to say I slept perfectly. I still tend to hear every little peep from every nearby creature. Some people enjoy that aspect of camping but for me not so much. But I’m getting better. The bigger, firmer mattress helped as did the quick assembly pop-up tent.

I still remember the time I went camping as a youngster with my cousin Joe. We put our tent up and went to sleep.

In the middle of the night we got up and I said, “Joe, look up at the stars and tell me what you see.” Joe replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.”

I said, “and what do you deduce from that?” He said, “Well, if there are millions of stars and a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely some of those planets could be like earth. And if there are planets like earth out there, there might also be life.”

I then said, “Joe, you moron, it means that somebody stole our tent.”