Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Yet another -40F morning at the cabin. I have sealed off the big window upstairs and when I took a peek at it this morning ice was a good 18 inches up the window and building. When it warms up there will be a flood of water to deal with but so be it. The truck started like a champ and the air is so clear it hurts to look at. I drove Angela to work this morning and then went to bLowe's and bought some trim wood for the next phase of counter top, should have it assembled today and maybe even installed. The ice fog is thickening but hasn't really dropped to the ground yet, -50F is projected for the end of the week and that should lower air quality significantly. I'm off to create more sawdust in the garage.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
It's -35F at the cabin this morning in Fairbanks, Alaska which is just about the right temperature for the holidays. We have had a great time with the family over the Christmas week and I've enjoyed adventuring with my nephew.
We built a massive snow fort outside Grammy's house.
Bonfire party at Sam and Jillian's Christmas Eve.
Then Jillian and I took the dogs out for a run before she took off for the Gin Gin 200. I put Max in the sled with 9 dogs out front. He was wrapped in good gear and a sleeping bag and the only complaint was "I can't see!" when he slipped down into the foot of the sled. About 6 miles out he fell asleep and slept the whole way home. When we pulled into the yard I scooped him out and put him in the snowbank while we put the dogs away. This picture shows him in his wad of sleeping bag next to the sled. It was about -5F at the time. When he woke up he said, "What am I doing here?" I'm sure barking dogs and a snowbank are a bit different from most of his nap surroundings.
Now I just hope Jillian makes it back from the race ok- the weatherman actually said it's cold enough to freeze warts today.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Well I'm back in Fairbanks and it's good to be home. The sun down south is great, and I'll write about that in a bit, but the Lower 48 has crowd control problems we just don't deal with up here and I'm glad for that. Crowds suck, and that point was driven home with a night of hell at the Seattle Tacoma airport where we got weathered in on the way back from Mazatlan.Here's a shot I took about 9pm Saturday when AK Air was still feeding us the line that we might get out that night. Snow was coming down hard and over 4 inches was on top of the plane. I figured we were doomed and then I saw this:
When Jolly St. Nick can't get home for Christmas what chance do I have? And so it was at 1am they officially cancelled our flight, sent us back out through security and said get in line for a new ticket. There was well over 1,000 people already waiting in line and beside the line people were sleeping everywhere in the most horrible open mouth broken neck positions that only the truly exhausted can perform.
We stood in line all night, inching along and trying not to calculate the hopelessness of it all. Finally, at 6am we stood in front of an agent. He looked nervous and unskilled and happily informed us there was a flight out in the evening, of December 24. Angela went white, then gray, then red and said very calmly, "That cannot happen." Meanwhile I had a brief vision as the next 3 days stretched out before us. There were riots, burning luggage cart tires, cannabalism and the leering faces of TSA agents eating fried chicken from behind the security lines and laughing as families huddled under in-flight magazine covers for warmth.
I had to do something, and quick, so I put my finger to my left temple and whispered, "Help me Obi wan, you're my only hope." I have uttered many oaths, phrases, curses and movie lines in my life but none with as much yearning of spirit and soul as I did Sunday morning. Almost instantly a new ticket agent walked up and took our man's place. She dismissed him with a quick nod and a wave, cracked her knuckles, and looked over the top of her computer at us with calm determination. Once she knew where we had to go her fingers blurred and the keyboard grew hot as she typed her demands into cyberspace.
She mumbled under her breath as she worked her Jedi magic, "I'll enter you both as backslash 'k' upgrades on a dash 9 layover with section P clearance. That'll get you to Anchorage, then it's just a matter of inputing the high tide coefficient for Turnagain Arm on a leapyear and it's done. Now do you want window or aisle seats on the 8am flight today?"
The upshot of it all is that our firstborn must now be named "Tracy" regardless of gender and we got home within 24 hours of when we were supposed to. We did make it onto an 8 am flight but then spent 4 hours waiting in the plane for a de-icing crew to show up. It wasn't until the gear folded into the plane as we lifted off that I began to feel some relief.
The Ted Stevens Convicted Felon International Airport never looked so good. A few other things I would like to mention: I saw maybe 100 blue blankets passed out to the thousands of sleeping people stranded at the airport, no one but Starbucks stayed open late to feed anyone, and supposedly the airport handed out bottled water for about an hour but ran out before I saw a drop.
For all the billions that have been squandered on TSA theatrics true terrorism is watching an airport that handles 30,000 people a day shut down. We will never forget...
Friday, December 05, 2008
It is December in the Golden Heart City of Fairbanks, a time of sparse daylight hours, cold temperatures, blank stares, frozen vehicles and thoughts of Mexico. Angela and I have hunkered down accordingly and booked a flight to Mazatlan where we will ingest copious amounts of seafood and sunshine for the next two weeks.
For those of you staying behind and toughing out the winter I recommend Max Dog's tried and true technique pictured above. Max cautions that his remedies may lead to atrocious gas and poo breath, you have been warned...
Monday, December 01, 2008
Angela is the proud parent of a new snowmachine today and we are both very excited. Weighing in around 360 pounds, she's good looking and appears to be fit and healthy. It was a bit of Craigslist luck and perfect timing and coordination with Rachael in Anchorage but we now have a 2000 model with reverse. So sweet.