Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wear out or Rust out?

I was just visiting with my mother this morning on the phone. When I grow up, I want to be like my parents - and wear out, not just rust out. They're both over 70 and I think they're busier than I am. She was saying that they were just heading out to drive down to Regina again so that they could finish the renovations they were doing on one of the suites in the apartment they own. This will mean that they've completely renovated three out of four suites in the apartment building they co-own with my sister and their husband. In addition, this fall they put a new foundation under the apartment block. I know my dad was in there everyday, swinging a hammer and overseeing the entire job.

They were back in Saskatoon this week because they had agreed to babysit for their tenants who live in their basement suite. They have three preschool children and had a family emergency and had to drive to BC. So, my parents babysat three preschool children for three days. Mom said the first day was tiring but by the third day they were back in the swing of things.

They're getting ready to fly down to Florida for a short holiday. I think they're going on a cruise while they're down there. Good for them! They've earned it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday morning

It's a little before 8 am Sunday morning. Everyone else is in bed. I love this time, when I have only the Lord and me. I was reading my last few blogs where the weather had been consistently -30 or colder for weeks on end. Thankfully, this weekend it has warmed up to a balmy -10, and we've really been enjoying the relief. Lloyd and Bram went out snowmobiling and snowshoeing yesterday. We had bought Bram snowshoes for his birthday, but it had really been too cold to try them out. He says they work really well and are cool.

This past week I had a special piano lesson from Boris Konovolov. He's a concert pianist who lives in Edmonton and comes to Yellowknife once a year to give a series of concerts and to give private lessons to advanced students. So I was frantically trying to squeeze in a few more minutes of practice here and there on the two pieces I had decided to play, and when the actual lesson came, things went very well. I was surprised - first of all because the poor girl who had her lesson right before me didn't have a good lesson; things didn't go very well for her at all, and he wasn't very patient with her. However, he was very nice for me, and some of the spots that I always struggle with and consistently make mistakes on - I didn't. That was nice. (It's kind of weird to think of myself as an advanced student though - I don't think so). I have two weeks now to decide (along with my piano teacher) if I'm going to be ready to register to take my exam in June or not. I think that means that I can't let up on the practicing yet. (Probably not until June.)

Our dog, Pepsi has had a growth on her back right foot for some time now. It hasn't been getting any smaller and finally Lloyd and Bram took her into the vet. (This was really generous of Lloyd because he doesn't believe in paying money to a vet, but I was double booked with the piano lesson with Boris.) Anyway, by this time, it looks like a dark pink marble (not a small marble, the biggest ones). The vet looked at it, declared that he didn't know what it could be and that he'd like to take a biopsy of it and send it down to Edmonton. The biopsy would cost $300. We'd just like to have the thing removed, but he didn't think he could do that without a biopsy first - the surgery would cost more on top of that.

So Lloyd brought Pepsi back home, and that evening we cut the growth off ourselves. I was really doubtful about the whole thing - but with the dog tied down and Bram securing her, we sprayed the foot with a topical anaesthetic, then Lloyd took a pair of really sharp scissors and chopped it off. (Pepsi yelped at that point, but was really good through the whole procedure.) It didn't bleed hardly at all, and now, two days later, it's dry and we don't even have it bandaged. It doesn't seem to bother her at all anymore. She used to spend quite a bit of time licking her foot and the growth there, but now she ignores it. We'll have to see if it grows back now or what.

Monday, February 4, 2008

More of the weather

Well, I'm sorry - but the weather seems to dominate all conversation here. It's -42 this morning, and it's been a full week that every day has been below -40, although it may rise up to as warm as -33 during the day. I've discovered many things about living in an arctic climate (technically, we live in the subarctic here) over the past week.

First of all, I can still count my blessings. It may be colder here in YK, than in any other community in the NWT, but our furnace works, our car still starts, and life is still good.

In addition, our pipes all drain! This wasn't true earlier in the weekend, but thanks to my wonderful husband, and lots of patience on everyone's part, he got the sink draining again. We discovered that when the plumbing company put in the new fuel tank this fall, they disconnected some of our heating tape and removed some of the insulation around some pipes, so that they'd have room to install the new pipes to the furnace. That's all well and good, but it would have been better if they had told us that they had done that. I also learned that the crawl space under our house is truly a crawl space and that I don't really like small enclosed spaces. I'm quite willing to let others take on those challenges.

Number 3. I am going to have a really clean kitchen after all this (I'm busy procrastinating right now). I'm sure our floor has been washed at least six times over the weekend due to water spills, I have all the accumulation of several years underneath the kitchen sink cleaned out, our dishwasher needs to be run every six hours to ensure the drain doesn't freeze up again (so no excuse not to do dishes), etc.

Thankfully, we didn't have to fly anywhere over this past week. Air Canada's flights into and out of YK have been cancelled all week, as their planes weren't certified to fly below -40. However, Canadian North and First Air's planes were, and they have benefitted from a lot more business. Hopefully, by the time Rose is due to fly home in mid February, things will have warmed up a bit, as she's on an Air Canada flight pass.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Not a deep freeze!

I just want to point out that the minimum temperature for a deep freeze is around -20; most deep freezes are set to around -15. So, we're not in a deep freeze, because as I write this morning, it's -45. That's over twice as cold. How cold is it, you ask? Well, for the first time in history here in Yellowknife, the public schools are closed. Government offices are still open and the community college I teach at is still open, however. School buses aren't running. The ice fog is so thick that I cannot see the house across the street. It has been below -40 for at least part of the day, all week this week. The warmest it's been all week is Sunday it was -33.8. The forecast for today was -48, (which is why the school buses and schools were cancelled) however it's not expected to get that cold now.

I have three winter coats. I have my -20 coat (given to me by Arctic Winter Games for being a co-chair of the volunteer committee), my -30 coat (the fur coat in the family photo a few entries ago - purchased at Value Village for a ridiculously low price), and my -40 coat (a duffle parka with an outer shell, sewn by your's truly about 18 years ago). Arctic Winter Games will give me another coat next week (it's my volunteer uniform, good to -30). At -45, I wear my -40 coat (which I've been wearing all week), but I layer it with a sweater or suit jacket underneath. I need the sweater anyway when I get to the classroom, because it's cold; however, I need the layers because in the afternoon I teach in the computer lab, where it's very warm. Once my mom was up visiting and she exclaimed about how many coats we had hanging up in the back entry. I simply explained that when you live someplace where you can expect temperatures below freezing any month of the year, and it's genuinely winter from October through April, you need a variety of coats.

So, how cold is it where you live?