Hump Day: I’ve see the light… hopefully literally

Hump Day 2 croppedHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015
Moncton Times & Transcript

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve found darkened rooms depressing and grim. I could be shown the most beautiful home in the world, but if the kitchen had dark cabinets, the first thing I’d want to do is paint them white. If I’m visiting friends and they turn down the lights for ambience, I find it changes the whole mood of the gathering – and not for the better.

Now, I’ve never been afraid of the dark – except for that one time when I was about three or four years old and some boogiemen came out of my closet, scared the living daylights out of me and I ran terrified to my parents’ room for safety. It’s still the most legendary childhood freak-out ever experienced in my family.

My father would still remind me of it years later – about “that time you came into our bedroom screaming.”

Well, you’d scream, too, if shadowy boogiemen came out of your closet to kidnap you and take you back to their lair.

To this day, I don’t know what those figures were – likely shadows, a bad dream or my vivid imagination. I do remember breaking all speed records getting to my parents’ room and sounding like someone was trying to kill me. I guess my screams scared away the creatures because they never came back. ‘Fred, don’t go back to that ‍Cormier kid’s room, OK? He’s a yeller,’ I could just imagine them saying at their weekly monsters’ meeting.

light bulbsI don’t know if that was the trigger, but I’ve always much preferred brightly lit rooms since then. Some of the reasons are just pure practicality, i.e. I like to see where I’m going. Have you ever been somewhere where the only light they have on is a 40W bulb in the basement? I mean, really! Turn those lights on and stop stubbing your toes on the furniture! Live life dangerously and screw in a 100W bulb!

Another reason is because I seem to be one of the few people who can’t seem to handle watching television in the dark. A movie is not so bad because the light really fills up the cinema, but to sit in a darkened room and watch television?

Well, you might as well pull my eyeballs out of my head right now and dip them in hot sauce. Talk about eye strain!

Maybe it’s because I have the eyesight of Mr. Magoo? My glasses are thick ones. Heck, even with the lenses as thin as technology can get them, they could still rival the Hubble Space Telescope for viewing the universe.

The type of work I do means I have to have my eyes glued to a computer screen all day. To avoid eyestrain – even during the day – I’ll have a number of lights on in my office: the ceiling light, a three-way lamp and a desk lamp aimed at the ceiling.

The room is filled with light, which pretty much eliminates eyestrain. If I looked at my screen all day in an office without bright lighting, I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Even at home, I like to have the lights on in a few rooms. A darkened house is a depressing house. My walls are also painted white to make it extra bright.

Don’t get me wrong. I think those scenes on television look cool where all these detectives are in a darkened room staring at bright screens while trying to solve a murder.

But cool isn’t practical in my books. I’d be turning on so many lights in that room that the International Space Station would be radioing in to NASA to alert them about a volcanic eruption they could see from space. Nope, that’s just me turning on the lights!

To each his own, of course. There’s nothing wrong with dark and gloomy if that’s what you like. Everyone has their own taste. I’m just saying that I’d much rather relax in a room so brightly lit that I can hear my retinas sizzling.

It also drives me crazy when retailers get on a bandwagon to portray themselves as ‘green’ and turn down the lighting in their stores. Staples did this a few years ago – for about a week. The place looked closed every time I drove by – and I couldn’t read any of the packaging because it was so dark! I went to Walmart instead, where they at least had the lights on!

If I’m ever over visiting and you want me to leave, just turn down the lights. I’ll show myself out. But first, can I borrow a flashlight?

TransAqua announces engineering and construction contract awards

TransAqua logo

TransAqua – the Greater Moncton Wastewater Commission – has awarded three engineering contracts to companies located in Greater Moncton valued at $223,451. The contract are part of TransAqua’s long-term strategic capital plan to improve wastewater transmission and treatment for the communities of Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview.

TransAqua Chair Winston Pearce says the contracts are a good start on moving forward with its long-term capital construction goals. “We are committed to working with Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe on improving the communities’ wastewater and sewer infrastructure. We are very happy that these projects can be carried out by companies located in Greater Moncton.”

Stantec Engineering of Moncton has been awarded a $34,500 contract to complete the preliminary design of a sewer forcemain on Bourque Road and a pumping station at Melanson Road in Dieppe for re-directing existing and projected long term-flows of the Melanson drainage basin to a newly constructed Babineau Creek trunk sewer. It is estimated that this project will prevent the necessity of a costly upgrade of the Commission’s collector sewer pipeline along the Petitcodiac River in Dieppe.

Crandall Engineering of Moncton has been awarded an $89,152 contract for the design, contract management and construction supervision of work to replace part of the existing collector sewer system in the Jonathan Creek area of Moncton as part of the work by the City of Moncton and CN Rail to reduce flooding in the Jonathan Creek and Jones Lake areas. TransAqua needs to relocate a section of its pipeline to facilitate the City of Moncton’s recently announced project. Construction is expected to take place in early 2016.

ADM Systems Engineering Limited of Dieppe has been awarded a $99,799 contract for the design, supply and implementation of components for the TransAqua’s ongoing SCADA (supervisor control and data acquisition) system upgrades. The upgrades, which began in 2014, involve modernizing software, data management and operator workstations. This contract is for the 2015 phase of hardware replacement. This will allow TransAqua to seamlessly integrate new wastewater treatment equipment into its existing computer control systems, as part of its long-term project to upgrade the existing plant from primary to secondary wastewater treatment by 2020, as mandated by the federal government.

About TransAqua

TransAqua, the Greater Moncton Wastewater Commission (www.transaqua.ca) was established in 1983 to support the wastewater collection and treatment needs of the Dieppe, Moncton and Riverview tri-community. Since then, it has developed a 31-kilometre collection network and a treatment facility to best deliver on this mandate. It has also become a leader in the reuse of bio-solids through the generation of type ‘AA’ compost (the highest grade currently achieved in Canada) as opposed to disposal in a landfill site. The organization is now positioning itself to further upgrade its facilities to provide an enhanced secondary treatment approach that will allow it to meet recently introduced mandatory federal regulations prior to the 2020 deadline.

Greater Moncton International Airport participates in first-ever Canadian Airports Safety Week

Greater Moncton International Airport - 2015 Canadian Airports Safety Week
Will Sutherland, Safety Security Specialist with the Greater Moncton International Airport (GMIA), prepares a public display of an airside operations vehicle as part of the first-ever Canadian Airports Safety Week held August 24-30. (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

The Greater Moncton International Airport (GMIA) emphasized its commitment to the safety of its passengers, visitors and employees during Canada’s first-ever Canadian Airports Safety Week held in conjunction with 23 other airports across the country from Aug. 24-30.

“Canadian Airports Safety Week is a new airports-led initiative to promote healthy and safety work practices among airport employees,” said Bernard LeBlanc, President and CEO of the Greater Moncton International Airport Authority. “The program aims to reach thousands of airport employees across the country with safety-related events and promotions. For the GMIA, safety is our number-one concern around the clock. And although this initiative is targeted at employees, it’s also an excellent opportunity to show the public and our passengers just how strongly committed we are to keeping everyone safe.”

As part of the industry’s dedication to safety, the GMIA focused on the following daily themes during Canadian Airports Safety Week: hazard reporting (Monday), worker safety (Tuesday), security (Wednesday), airside vehicle operations (Thursday), foreign objects debris (Friday), construction safety and security (Saturday) and environment (Sunday).

“Our activities include daily theme-based information displays and toolbox talks directed at multiple employee groups, representing all employers here at the GMIA who have responsibilities in the airside area – the part of the airport not normally accessible to the public unless they are boarding a plane,” said Will Sutherland, Safety Security Specialist for the Greater Moncton International Airport. “It is an excellent opportunity to take a time-out and re-introduce information and avoidance practices on the known hazards which airport workers face every day.”

Canadian Airport Safety Week is an airport-led initiative to promote healthy and safe work practices among airport employees. Currently in its first year, there are 24 airports across Canada participating in the initiative: Greater Moncton International Airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Calgary International Airport, Charlottetown Airport, Comox Valley Airport, Edmonton International Airport, Fort McMurray International Airport, Greater Sudbury Airport, Halifax Stanfield International Airport, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, Kamloops Airport, Kelowna International Airport, London International Airport, Northwest Regional Airport, Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport, Prince George Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Region of Waterloo International Airport, Saint John Airport, Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport, St. John’s International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

Hump Day: Father may have passed on, but his gifts just keep on giving

Hump Day 2 croppedHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Moncton Times & Transcript

It’s interesting what stories you hear and the connections you make after a loved one dies. My father died three years ago on Aug. 26, 2012, and I’m still surprised to hear stories from time to time.

My father could be gruff at the best of times, some would even say grouchy, which would annoy me to no end but which actually endeared him to some people. As many people age, their filter melts away. If you ask them their opinion, they’ll tell you. Even if you don’t ask them, they’ll tell you.

Bernard Cormier
My father – Bernard “Bernie” Cormier.

My father’s doctor’s assistant was one who found loved his grouchiness. I remember her telling me that she thought he was hoot. He wasn’t one to visit the doctor and tell him that there was nothing wrong. The doctor found out in blunt language what was going on with his aging body.

More than a few times I just sat there with my mouth open in shock after my increasingly filter-free father would explain some new symptom to a doctor. There was no sugar-coating anything by then. I suppose that was good, though. At least no one had to figure out what the real story was.

Then there was the time I took him to a dermatologist to try and figure out a lingering skin problem. The next thing I know, without being asked, he was lying stark naked on the examining room bed. “For God’s sake, Dad, she doesn’t need to see everything,” I said. His reply, “Well how is she going tell what’s wrong if I have my clothes on?” The doctor politely told him he could cover up a bit, if you get my drift, and she did eventually figure out the problem without needing to see everything.

My father used to love to hang out at the Sports Rock pub in Dieppe. You could usually find him either at Tim Hortons not far down the street or at Dooly’s on Elmwood Drive. He had his favourite staff at each place. Veronique at Dooly’s could do no wrong in his eyes. And there was Nicole at Sports Rock who just loved him. In fact, my father used to talk to her young son quite a bit about fishing – a particular love of my father’s throughout his life, but one that he could no longer pursue due to declining health in his later years.

Bernie figurine
The figurine nicknamed ‘Bernie’ that  was brought on vacation by Nicole and her family.

Nicole and her family actually found a figurine one day that they told me looked exactly like my father, so much so that they named it Bernie, my father’s name. They even brought ‘Bernie’ on vacation with them once. The kids didn’t want to leave him behind. I saw a photo of the figurine after I found out about the story and had to admit that it bore a striking resemblance to the real-life Bernie.

There was also some mysterious other waitress at Sports Rock named Olivia. My father obviously liked her because I remember him taking her Christmas presents one year. Of course, I looked at him and wondered what that was all about. Why is this man in his 70s taking Christmas presents to a young waitress?

My cousin Paul passed away in July after a nearly year-long battle with cancer. Family and friends gathered shortly afterwards at Cheers Beverage Room on Brandon Street for a celebration of his life. At one point, a young lady – my cousin’s son’s girlfriend – came up to introduce herself to me. She told me she knew my father and that she used to work at Sports Rock. Her name was Olivia.

She told me how fond she was of him. His grouchiness made her like him even more. As long as you laughed it off, he was great. Some of the other waitresses took him a bit too seriously and didn’t like him, but she liked him just fine. In fact, when she broke up with an old boyfriend just before Valentine’s Day and was feeling blue, my father brought her a little Valentine’s Day treat to cheer her up. Well, how could she resist not thinking the world of him after that?

I told her that I remembered him mentioning ‘Olivia’ from Sports Rock, and asked her if he’d ever bought her Christmas gifts, too. She said yes, and we both laughed when I told her that I remember telling him he was crazy for buying ‘Olivia’ gifts.

I hope I keep getting surprised from time to time with stories about my father. They always bring a smile to my face.